Feb. 24: Five teams, each consisting of two ex-servicemen and three Gorkhaland Personnel cadres, have started fasts-unto-death at Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong, Gorubathan and Salugara in support of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s statehood movement.
The hunger strike is also to demand a CBI inquiry into the February 8 Sibchu police firing that killed three Morcha supporters.
The former Gorkha soldiers have also planned an indefinite hunger strike in Delhi to be followed by the surrender of war medals if there is no response from the state government on the demands, said Lt. Col (retd) Ramesh Allay, the president of the Bharatiya Gorkha Bhutpurba Sainik Adra-Sainik Morcha.
Allay said the Gorkhas in India have till date received around 256 Sena Medals, 20 Visishta Sena Medals, 11 Maha Vir Chakras, one Ashoka and one Param Vir Chakra.
In Delhi, a meeting between Morcha leader Roshan Giri and Union home minister P. Chidambaram failed to break the deadlock on Darjeeling.
“It is the Bengal government which has disagreed to the territory issue. The Centre has been working to resolve it,” Giri told The Telegraph in Delhi after the meeting, hinting that the Morcha may listen to some requests from the North Block.
The Morcha wants the Gorkha dominated areas of the Dooars and the Terai in the new state that it is demanding. Giri conceded that the solution to the Darjeeling set-up imbroglio seemed likely only after the Assembly elections in May.
The party has threatened to impose an embargo on the despatch of Darjeeling tea from February 27 which Chidambaram is understood to have asked them to withdraw.
Allay seemed peeved that the state government had not yet disclosed the contents of the M.L. Meena Commission report on the lathicharge on the ex-servicemen’s rally in Siliguri on April 9, 2008.