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Renewed demand for Gorkhaland

Darjeeling, Sat, 18 Oct 2008 ANI

Darjeeling, Oct 18 (ANI): The members of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activists have renewed their agitation for a separate statehood and are replacing government signboards with their own signboards in Darjeeling.


The activists are pasting 'Government of Gorkhaland' on all boards that are reading 'Government of West Bengal'.


Further, they have passed a resolution making 'Gorkhaland' number plates mandatory for all vehicles.


"We have decided that all the number plates on the cars will be replaced by our number plates. We will also paste our name on the government boards," said Bimal Dorzi, executive member of the Central committee of GJM.


All the important buildings including the wildlife department and the health care centers now read 'Government of Gorkhaland'.


Hundreds of people of a tribal community are protesting and demanding a separate hill state for the Gorkha ethnic community.


Gorkhas, who are ethnic Nepalis, have been fighting for a separate state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of the hill districts of West Bengal.


However, the tribals inhabiting the foothills, - the Doars and Terai regions, have protested against the creation of Gorkhaland, claiming that they represent over 60 per cent of the population in the region.


While Doars falls under Jalpaiguri district, Terai comes under Darjeeling district dominated by the ethnic Santhals, Mahtos, Bhils, Mundas, Oraons and Nepalese.


At least 1,200 people died in the first Gorkhaland campaign in the 1980s, but protests ended a few years later after Gorkha leaders accepted limited autonomy.


The Gorkha population in West Bengal is around one million out of 80 million people, although the overwhelming majority is concentrated in Darjeeling. (ANI)


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