Demanding a separate ‘Gorkhaland’, GJM to start indefinite strikes in Darjeeling today
The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) will go on an indefinite strike from Monday demanding a separate state of ‘Gorkhaland’.
“We will go on strike from Monday. Bengal government takes so much revenue from us but it only encroach our territory. We want our Gorkhaland and will not negotiate on this matter. We will not do any violence,” Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung told ANI.
The GJM, however, exempted schools, colleges, transport, hotels from the purview of the shutdown and said banks will remain open only twice a week.
“There will be indefinite shutdown in GTA offices, banks and government offices from Monday. The banks will open twice a week for public transactions. We have exempted schools, colleges, transport, hotels from the purview of the strike,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said.
The GJM has asked tourists to leave Darjeeling and warned those who stay on during its attempted lockdown of administrative offices and banks that they are doing so “at their own risk”.
“The situation is turning worse, and anything can happen. The tourists must understand this. If they wish to stay back, they may do so at their own risk. I appeal to them (tourists) to leave,” said Gurung.
He also announced that all the signboards written in Bengali will be removed from Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong, Mirik, Siliguri, Terai and Dooars region and signboards only in English and Nepali would be allowed.
“We will not attend GTA offices. Thrice a week we will organize torch rallies in the hills,” he said.
GTA and government offices will, however, remain open for four days from June 27.
Earlier in the day, GJM supremo Bimal Gurung said that he was not for strikes.
Gurung also called for "non-cooperation" movement with the state government and accused it of looting resources from the hills and depriving it of basic amenities.
He said that agitation in Darjeeling hills will not stop until and unless a separate Gorkhaland is formed.
“If TMC wants to play with fire they will regret it,” he said.
“We will appeal to the people not to cooperate with the state government. It is taking away so much resources from the hills and what are the people of the hills getting? We are getting nothing.
“This has to stop. We will fight for our freedom and will not allow the divisive politics in the hills,” Gurung said.
The GJM leadership on Sunday wrote to the Centre urging it to look into the Gorkhaland demand.