DARJEELING: In a climbdown, Gorkha Janamukti Morcha, spearheading an indefinite bandh in Darjeeling hills for the last 10 days to demand Gorkhaland state, on Monday said it would not use force to enforce the shutdown but a ‘janata curfew’ would be held as announced from tomorrow.
Senior GJM leader Harka Bahadur Chetri said the bandh would remain suspended on Independence Day. “There will be no use of force to enforce the bandh in deference to the Calcutta HC order,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told reporters.
He said the party’s future strategy would be decided on August 16 at an “all-party” meeting.
The high court had directed West Bengal government to ensure normalcy and chief minister Mamata Banerjee had on Saturday declared the bandh illegal and given the GJM a 72-hour deadline to withdraw it. GJM President Bimal Gurung threatened to call a ‘janata curfew’ if Banerjee did not withdraw her deadline.
He had said the ‘janata curfew’ (people policing the streets) would be in force on August 13-14 after the expiry of the deadline to call off the bandh.
A meeting was held during the day attended by BJP, All India Gorkha League and small parties in the hills and boycotted by ruling Trinamool Congress, Congress, CPI(M) and GNLF.
The GJM chief said “all the eight parties which support Gorkhaland will now be under one platform. There will be no opposition in the hills now.”
The meeting agreed the hill council, Gorkha Territorial Administration, needed to be repealed at an appropriate time, Gurung said in a Facebook post.
Gurung also said the all-party meeting on August 16 would decide on the organisational set-up.
The GJM chief said all parties present at the all-party meeting unanimously decided to condemn ‘police atrocities’ and to appeal to the people to observe ‘janata curfew’ for the next two days.
Chetri said that at the moment GJM was not quitting GTA and the all-party meeting did not discuss it or about the election of another CEO after Gurung’s resignation.
“We only discussed the timing and the appropriate situation when GTA will be rejected altogether but nothing pertaining to GTA or electing a new chief executive to GTA,” he said.
Chetri also said the meeting condemned ‘police raj’ let loose by the state administration’.
“The meeting unanimously condemned the atrocities in the name of maintaining law and order and the arrests made by the police as state-sponsored terrorism,” Chetri said reading out a resolution adopted at the meeting.
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