In hills, ban on govt cars – GNLF for wheel jam in Siliguri today

The Telegraph

Darjeeling, April 18: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has “banned” the movement of government vehicles in the hills for an indefinite period, demanding the immediate arrest of GNLF supporters who had allegedly beaten up some Morcha men in the Terai last week. The “ban” extends to police cars as well.

The GNLF, too, has threatened a chakka jam tomorrow at Darjeeling More in Siliguri if the Morcha supporters involved in Tuesday’s clash are not arrested immediately. Subash Ghisingh’s supporters will stop all hill-bound vehicles and those coming down.

The Morcha has, however, decided to allow the subdivisional and the block offices to start functioning from tomorrow. It had shut down the offices on April 7, citing hike in water tax and lack of transparency in implementing the 100 days’ work scheme. Following the closure, the Darjeeling municipality rolled back the tax.

Party general secretary Roshan Giri said: “We have decided to open the subdivisional and the block offices from tomorrow, keeping in mind the census that has started.”

Media and publicity secretary Rohit Sharma said it was party president Bimal Gurung’s idea to go for the indefinite bandh. “We told him that we had imposed a 24-hour ban to press for the arrest of the GNLF supporters but he told us that this would not work and the ban should be indefinite.” Asked whether the “ban” on vehicles would affect the census, Giri said: “This is the party’s stand at the moment.”

This is not the first time that the Morcha has “banned” the movement of government vehicles. But given the government’s policy of non-confrontation in the hills, the administration is unlikely to take any action.

Morcha insiders, however, said the vehicle ban is a pressure tactics to force the state and the Centre to accept an interim arrangement for the hills that would include parts of the Dooars and the Terai.

Territory has been a major bone of contention between the government and the Morcha. The state and the Centre are reluctant to part with any part of the plains and want the interim set-up to be confined to the hills.


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