Who Wants Gorkhaland?

June 13, 2008

waiting for the tire to be changed
I am alive, and out of Sikkim, safe in Siliguri. As it was I was safe and completely ignorant (as no doubt some of you still are — I’m guessing it wasn’t on the local news) of what was going on. I don’t have the time or knowledge to get into the details, but it doesn’t matter too much. The part that was of interest to me started a few days ago, when just as the radio was switched on we heard, “Sikkim has been totally cut off.” At the time I didn’t quite believe it but it became apparent – agitators for a new Indian state in West Bengal had blocked all the roads into Sikkim.
With only a week left on my permit, and no definite end to the strike in sight, my options were slim – head close to the border and hope for a break in the strike, or try a helicopter flight from Gangtok (flying over the whole mess). Luckily they scheduled a two-day reprieve to allow tourists out, but then West Bengal opposition blocked roads to Siliguri, the only real destination out of Sikkim (as far as tourists are concerned). But they let up today as well for a few hours, and I’m out. More later when I leave Siliguri.