A novelist and a singer from the Darjeeling hills on Thursday decided to return the awards they were given by the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government, ANI reported. Novelist KS Mukhtan and singer Karma Yonjan said the decision was in protest against the state administration’s “repressive measures” against agitators.
“As a mark of protest [against] the government and supporting the [Gorkhaland] movement, I am returning an award presented to me,” novelist KS Mukhtan said, calling the Gorkhaland agitation a movement for “self determination”.
Singer Karma Yonjan said: “I got an award in December 2016. I am returning it to the government now in protest. I don’t want this award, but I want Gorkhaland.”
This comes a day after a mob set fire to a Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Tourist Information office. Supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which has been spearheading the agitation, took out a rally at Chowkbazar in Darjeeling on Wednesday with the body of Ashok Tamang, the man who was allegedly killed in police firing. The agitation then took a violent turn, and protestors torched the office late at night.
On Tuesday, the GJM had announced a fast-unto-death programme, starting July 15.