Darjeeling: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) Chief Bimal Gurung today met President Pranab Mukherjee here and urged him to arrange for the release of over 150 party leaders and workers who were taken into custody during the recent agitation in the hills for separate Gorkhaland.
Ten members of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) sabha and 144 GJM activists were lodged in jail. "We demand their immediate release," Gurung said after meeting the President.
Gurung, who called on Mukherjee along with his deputy Col (Retd) Ramesh Alay, said the party also demanded that various land required for the functioning of the GTA but belonged to the state government be transferred immediately.
Another demand raised by Gurung to the President was Tribal status for all Gorkhas by the Centre, he said. According to sources in the Rashtrapati Bhavan travelling with the President in Darjeeling, Gurung also demanded a central university in the hills.
Following the Centre`s decision to carve out a separate state of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh, the GJM had started a violent movement in the Hills demanding a separate Gorkhaland, but scaled down its agitation after strong administrative measures, including arresting GJM workers in old cases, by the state government.
The President came here to attend the 125th Year Jubilee Celebration of St. Joseph`s School, North Point here.