West Bengal: GJM Calls Off Bandh in the Hills

Mamata, Gorkhaland agitators hold talks

But GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said the bandh would continue till a dialogue is initiated on separate statehood for the Darjeeling hills, called Gorkhaland.

Tamang said the next round of dialogue with the state government on the situation in the hills is scheduled for September 12.

GJM joint secretary (central committee), Binoy Tamang, while hinting at the failure of Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), said, "No other alternative or modified bodies will do justice to our plight and apathy of being lumped with any other arrangement other than creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland". Elaborating about the meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Tamang said, "CM said it was a Constitutional demand but urged us to stay away from violent movement".

The next round of meeting will be held on September 12 at Uttarkanya in Siliguri at 3PM, she added. Several pro-Gorkhaland parties, including the GJM, came together as the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC) to launch the agitation. Schools, colleges and office were closed for a long time.

Late Thursday evening, Bimal Gurung's loyalists took to the streets, saying they won't obey Binay Tamang's decision. "Whatever Binay Tamang has declared is false", Roshan Giri had said earlier in the day. "We have requested them to withdraw the strike since it's causing a great hardship to the people", Mamata had said.

"Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has been observing indefinite strike in Darjeeling hills for last 80 days and our strike will be continued until our demand is fulfilled", Bimal Gurung said.

He said that the protest programmes were rolled back until September 12.

Many Gorkhas feel that Tamang is slowly edging out Gurung as the most powerful Gorkha leader - the same way he sidelined GNLF leader Subhash Ghising.

Incidentally Mr Tamang, whose house was allegedly ransacked by the security forces during a search operation in the midnight recently, was escorted by the securitymen of state police right from the Bagdogra airport to Kurseong. "I have learnt that the chief minister has said that Gorkhaland is not in her hand and she can not even recommend the formation of a separate state".

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