Gorkha group withdraws shutdown call in Darjeeling

2010-06-24 17:50:00

The pro-Gorkhaland Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) Thursday withdrew its indefinite shutdown call in the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling district in northern West Bengal.

The GJM had called the shutdown from June 19 in protest against alleged police harassment of its frontal organisation, Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP), and a slew of other demands.

It later relaxed the shutdown for 48-hours starting June 23.

GJM press and publicity secretary Harka Bahadur Chhetri said: ‘The decision was taken in today’s (Thursday) central committee meeting of the party.’

Chhetri said the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad (ABAVP) had written to GJM president Bimal Gurung extending its support to the GJM for the cause of a separate state ‘Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh’.

‘Earlier we approached the ABAVP for joining us to strengthen the movement for separate statehood. Now they have agreed to discuss this issue. So we have decided to ensure that normalcy returns in the hills before we sit for the talks,’ said the media and publicity officer.

Chhetri said they were planning to sit with the ABAVP leaders June 28.

Though the GJM has suspended its indefinite shutdown call, it has declared a new programme of protest against alleged police harassment of its supporters and GLP personnel.

Chhetri said: ‘GJM has suspended the indefinite shutdown call but will launch a two-hour chakka jam (road block) between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day starting Friday.’

The GJM is spearheading the demand for separate statehood for the Gorkhas, comprising Darjeeling and parts of Jalpaiguri district.

The central government in 2005 offered Sixth Schedule status to the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), ensuring greater autonomy to the governing body.

The GJM organised indefinite shutdowns on several occasions in the hills severely hitting tea, timber and tourism – the bread and butter of the region.



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