Processions taken out in Darjeeling, shutdown continues
People wearing the traditional Gorkha attire marched through the streets of Darjeeling today in support of Gorkhaland as the indefinite shutdown in the hills entered its 10th day. Internet services remained suspended and local cable channels remained blocked in certain parts of the hills.
Meanwhile, the family members of a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activist, who was allegedly killed in police firing on June 17, lodged a complaint against the police. The police had earlier denied the allegation of opening fire at the GJM activists.
The GJM has decided to burn the copies of the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) Accord, signed in 2011 between the Union home ministry, the West Bengal government and the outfit, on June 26 and 27. The elected members of the GTA, belonging to the GJM, which is leading the stir, resigned en masse yesterday.
GJM chief Bimal Gurung, who had surfaced in public yesterday, addressed the media at the party's stronghold at Patlebas and threatened to "fight till the end" for their one-point agenda of a separate Gorkhaland.
Meanwhile, Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh denied that the saffron party had ever talked about Gorkhaland.
"We had never talked about Gorkhaland. Didi (West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee) had signed the GTA accord. We are not in favour of creation of states on the basis of any linguistic group or community. We had said this earlier too. If states are to be created on the basis of a linguistic group or community, we would have to support all such demands such as those of the Kamtapuris, Rajbanshis etc. We were never in support of this," he told reporters in Alipurduar.
The GJM is an ally of the BJP in the NDA. Gurung had said that talks were on with the Centre and that he was hopeful of "positive results".
Students stranded at several boarding schools were evacuated yesterday after the GJM offered them a 12-hour "window" till 6 pm to leave the hills safely.
A case of murder, arson, assault on police personnel and conspiracy to incite violence was filed against Gurung and his wife Asha on June 17.
The Calcutta High Court has directed that notice be served on Gurung by all means possible in view of a PIL, challenging the indefinite bandh called by the GJM in Darjeeling.
The West Bengal government yesterday offered a dialogue to the GJM leadership in a bid to defuse the crisis with Home Secretary Malay De saying that the doors were "open for talks to restore normalcy in the hills".
The government also sent a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh protesting Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling's support to the GJM's Gorkhaland demand terming it as "unconstitutional".