Activists of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha, a regional organisation spearheading the demand for a separate state, stepped up their protest on Saturday for separate state of Gorkhaland, as they went on a hunger strike.
They were joined by many non-Nepalese activists, who also demanded a separate Gorkhaland state.
Protesters demanded the announcement of a new round of tripartite talks, as guaranteed by the Central and state government officials at an earlier tripartite meeting in Darjeeling town on December 21.
"This protest itself proves that Gorkhaland is not only meant for Gorkhas (ethnic Nepalese) but also for other people residing in the Gorkhaland areas, like Bengalis, Muslims, tribes and others. We will continue our protest until the Central government calls for a political dialogue on the issue," said Sankar Adhikary, the convener of the GJM central committee.
Adhikary added that GJM activists had gone on hunger strike from Saturday in all areas of the Darjeeling district to press their demands.
Gorkhas have been demanding a separate state, to be carved out West Bengal, to help them protect their culture and heritage.
The demand for Gokhaland gained momentum after New Delhi announced earlier this month that it would carve out the new state of Telangana out of the present state of Andhra Pradesh in south India.The Gorkha population is around 1 million out of the over 80 million in West Bengal.