GJM calls off bandh

The Hindu

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), that had relaxed for four days, till Tuesday, the bandh that began in the Darjeeling hills earlier this month, has decided to call it off even as the agitation for a separate State of ‘Gorkhaland’ continues.

The GJM leadership has threatened to stop the despatch of tea — the first flush crop which is highly valued in the market — from tea-gardens in the hills from February 27 as part of the on-going agitation.

“Our decision to call off the bandh is in keeping with the assurance given by us recently to a team of observers from the Election Commission that we, as the largest party in the hills, will ensure normality in the region in the run-up to the coming Assembly polls in the State,” senior GJM leader and member of the party’s central committee Harka Bahadur Chettri told The Hindu over telephone from Kalimpong sub-division.

“This move should dispel any doubts being raised in certain quarters about our democratic credentials. We are keen to revive all democratic institutions in the region,” he added.

The GJM, which has intensified its statehood campaign and has been trying to take it to the Dooars and the Terai region, had called an indefinite bandh in the region from February 9, a day after the police fired at its supporters at Sipchu in the Dooars, claiming three lives.

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