Following government's decision to set up ‘fact verification committee'

The Gorkha Janamutki Morcha (GJM) leadership, which called for a series of agitations in the Darjeeling hills over the coming weeks as part of its opposition to the recommendations of a high-power panel on the transfer of areas in the Terai and Dooars to the proposed Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), will review its protest programme.

This comes in the wake of the West Bengal government's decision to set up a “fact verification committee” to examine the panel's report at a meeting between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and GJM leaders here on Saturday.

While there were indications in the Darjeeling hills on Sunday that the GJM may reconsider its protest plans, GJM assistant secretary Benoy Tamang told The Hindu over the phone that though the party's central committee would meet to decide the future of its agitation programme, “it has not been withdrawn as of now.”

The protests were to have started on the day with the resignation of all chairpersons and councillors of the four hill municipalities. But the programme was put on hold in view of the State government's agreeing last week to meet GJM.

But the announcement by the State government that the election schedule for the GTA “would be notified immediately” has resulted in fresh misgivings within the GJM leadership that, otherwise, appears satisfied with the government decision to set up a fact verification committee.

Opposition to polls

The GJM leadership has maintained that it will oppose the elections unless the government reconsiders the recommendations of the committee headed by Justice Sen.

Where the GJM has scored in the on-going standoff with the government is the decision to set up a fact verification committee.