Gorkha group calls for 240-hour shutdown next month

Thursday, May 13, 2010

SILIGURI - Political tempers are again running high in Darjeeling hills of northern West Bengal with the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) Thursday calling for a ten-day shutdown next month in support of its demand for a separate Gorkhaland state.

The June 12-21 shutdown call comes two days after the failed tripartite talks in Delhi that saw the GJM representatives staging a walk-out over the alleged reluctance of the central and state governments to discuss the territory of the Gorkhaland state demanded by the hill outfit.

The shutdown will cover the “proposed Gorkhaland territory” comprising the three Darjeeling hill sub-divisions - Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kursenong - the Terai (plains) region and neighbouring Jalpaiguri district’s Dooars (foothills of the Himalayas).

GJM assistant general secretary Benoy Tamang told reporters that his organisation was no more keen on participating in the next round of political level tripartite talks slated in Delhi later this month. “We now want Gorkhaland. We may not participate in this tripartite meet.”

The GJM earlier called a two-day shutdown in the “proposed Gorkhaland territory” May 15 and May 16, demanding Gorkhaland.

Its activists are also on relay hunger strike since May 10. The GJM has also called a shutdown in government offices, and stopped plying of state-run vehicles in the three hill sub-divisions.

The Bangla O Bangla Bhasa Bachao Committee has also called a 24-hour shutdown across the state Friday, protesting the move to divide the state and attacking the tripartitite talks.

Acting Superintendent of Police (Darjeeling) Gourav Sharma said all measures have been taken to prevent any breach of peace in the coming days.

GJM activists - headed by party president Bimal Gurung - have been agitating for the separate Gorkhaland state besides opposing special status to the hill governing body, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).

Last month, the GJM sent to the centre a proposal for an interim administrative set-up in the hills till Dec 31, 2011.

However, Tamang said his outfit was no more interested in the interim set-up. “We will now go all-out for Gorkhaland.”

Filed under: Politics

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