A new committee formed in Darjeeling on Friday called for a fresh five-day agitation from August 19 changing the nomenclature of ‘janata curfew’ to ‘ghar bitrai janata’ (people inside homes) on their demand for a separate Gorkhaland.
North Bengal Development minister Gautam Deb, however, said that there was no difference between the earlier bandh and the fresh agitation announced.
Spokesman of the newly-formed body, Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee of which GJM was a constituent, said “The people will stay at home. This is their wish. We honour their wish. They have total support for Gorkhaland.”
On that the Calcutta High Court expressing displeasure over continuance of the bandh in the hills in the name of janata curfew, the spokesman replied, “We have not given any call for a janata curfew.”
On whether shops and markets would be open during the five-day agitation, he said that none would stir out of their homes during the period.
“All programmes that will be announced from today will be by GJAC,” Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung said in a Facebook post.
On whether they would talk to West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan, the spokesman said that if the Governor invited them, they would talk to him.
He also demanded intervention by the central government to resolve the issue.
When asked about the fate of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, the hill council, he said that a resolution has already been passed at the earlier all-party meeting that “GTA was a failure and would be dissolved at an appropriate time. Today’s meeting of the committee reiterated this.”
Among the programmes announced were a human chain on August 26 when people would wear black bands and carry posters in support of Gorkhaland “to protest the attitude of the West Bengal government”, he said.
Before that a ‘rakhi procession’ would be taken out on August 24 and 25.
The North Bengal Development minister in Siliguri said, “There is no difference between the bandh and janata andolan. It is nothing but a bandh and the state government will take steps to ensure normal life in the hills.”
Mr. Deb also claimed that representatives of BJP and Congress had attended an all party meeting called by the GJM during the day.
He said that Darjeeling DCC president K.B. Chetri besides Congress leader from Kurseong Chabi Rai and others from the party attended the meeting as also from the BJP in support of the Gorkhaland movement by the GJM.
“Straightway, these parties are supporting them and taking part in the movement seeking to divide Bengal,” Mr. Deb said.
Mr. Deb demanded that WBPCC president Pradip Bhattacherjee take action against Chetri, a two-time party MP and others for attending the meeting.
He also said, “This is not an all-party meeting. It is Bimal Gurung (GJM president)’s meeting.”
The CPI(M), meanwhile, demanded that the state government immediately convene an all party meeting.
“The state government should immediately call an all party meeting. It should clear its stand on the issue,” CPI(M) central committee member Mohammed Salim told PTI in Kolkata.
“Earlier by signing the tripartite agreement, the state government tried to hoodwink the people that it had brought back peace to the hills.
“But now the GJM is trying to hoodwink the Trinamool by changing the nomenclature of the agitation,” said Salim.