Darjeeling, June 24: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today announced its decision to “defer” the indefinite strike in the hills, a day after the party threatened to “strictly” enforce the shutdown when it resumed on Friday after a 48-hour relaxation.
Instead, the party will from June 28 put up two-hour blockades on uphill roads everyday from 11am. The road to Sikkim or NH31A has been spared.
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said today’s decision ensured the party “channelised” all its energies to jointly launching the movement with the Adivasi Vikas Parishad for a separate state called Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh.
On Tuesday, the Parishad had said it was willing to discuss this issue with the hill party but needed some time.
However, Morcha sources said several party leaders had prevailed upon party chief Bimal Gurung to at least “postpone” the strike in the greater interest of the people of the hills who were “severely inconvenienced”.
The sources also said the party had called the indefinite bandh in the hills to deflect attention from ABGL leader Madan Tamang’s murder. Gurung’s party has been accused of masterminding the murder and had to face severe backlash in the hills.
“But now we feel that the strike has served its purpose so there is no longer any need to continue with it,” a Morcha leader said.
In the end, sources said, the “saner voices” in the party prevailed upon Gurung and he took a “tactical” decision to “defer” the strike. They said Gurung did not announce that the Morcha was calling off the strike since he wanted the shutdown threat to hang before the district administration.
“The central committee has decided to postpone the indefinite general strike scheduled to resume from tomorrow because of the positive response that we have received towards our proposal for the creation of Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh from the Adivasi leadership,” Giri said at a news conference today. “Instead we shall start a road blockade from June 28, but NH31A will be spared.”
P. Arjun, a member of the Study Forum — a Morcha think tank — said the party should not be distracted by any other movement and instead give its “full attention” to the Parishad response.
“The Parishad’s response is a very positive development and we are hopeful that the meeting will take place by July 10,” Arjun said.
Giri said the future course of the agitation would depend on the outcome of the meeting with the Parishad. However, the party has decided to keep up the spirit of its cadres by carrying out its daily demonstrations in front of police stations, weekly torch rallies, the two-hour blockade of roads and public meetings.