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GJM calls indefinite stir from today

Posted by Ramesh Khati on July 13, 2009

DARJEELING: The summer holidays are over for Darjeeling. Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has called an indefinite strike
over the Gorkhaland demand from Tuesday, announcing its return to the politics of disruption and coercion after
nearly two months of peace following BJP leader Jaswant Singh’s landslide victory with GJM support in the Lok Sabha election.

The muscle-flexing in the Hills will continue in tandem with lobbying in New Delhi. Singh will raise the Gorkhaland demand in Parliament and the strike will bolster the issue, said GJM leaders.

“Our MP will highlight our demand in Parliament and we want to make his voice strong,” GJM president Bimal Gurung told a gathering at Lebong stadium in Darjeeling on Sunday.

Significantly, Harendra Pratap, the BJP central observer for the North-East and Sikkim, appealed to GJM to adopt a mode of protest that would not disturb communication to Sikkim via NH-31A, which is the state’s lifeline.
The fuse for the latest stir was lit during GJM’s clash with police at Panighatta on Friday that left over 40 injured.

From Tuesday, all government offices, schools, tea gardens will be forced shut. Vehicular movement will come to a halt, as will development work. Cars belonging to the DM, the SP, the SDOs and emergency services have been exempted.

GJM’s indefinite strike will be informally clamped on the three Hill subdivisions Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong from Monday itself. Shops will be closed from noon, but vehicles ferrying passengers will be allowed to ply through the day. Tuesday morning will bring total shutdown.

GJM is also sending a team to Delhi on Monday to keep up the pressure. The four-member delegation will release a document titled ‘Why Gorkhaland’ in the Capital. “Our team will submit the document to all the 543 MPs,” said Gurung at Lebong.

Asked about the fate of students in Hill schools, the GJM leader replied that it was up to the school authorities to take care of them. “We have given two and a half days to the schools to send students back,” said Gurung. Most of the boarders come from countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal and the neighbouring state of Sikkim and may not be able to move out before the strike is clamped.

Most boarding schools have refused to send back their students. While some have their own contingency plans, others feel the strike will not continue for long and something will be worked out. Last year, too, GJM had called an indefinite strike in the Hills, but had called it off after a few days.

To ensure that its diktat is followed, GJM will deploy 11,000 of its newly-formed Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) in all three subdivisions. The GLP will not have firearms, but will carry batons. They will be deployed from 6 pm to the next morning. “The objective is to ensure that criminals do not take advantage of the strike. GLP will patrol the streets at night,” said GLP commandant Col Ramesh Allay.

GLP was formed last year with the objective of carrying out social activities in the Hills. The force comprises boys and girls from the Hills and plains.

Source: The Times Of India


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