The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung ruled out any talks with the State government and warned that it would be responsible forany untoward development if its uses force to foil the on-going strike for Gorkhaland.
Mr. Gurung, who offered his respects to party activist Mangal Singh Rajput, whose death by self-immolation on August 3 seems to have become a turning-point for the movement, said the GJM will not engage in any dialogue with the State government, and its discussions with the Centre on the issue is now “on the right course”.
“It is a huge development that one of our people has achieved martyrdom for the cause of Gorkhaland,” he said at Kalimpong, even as the GJM leader warned the State government that the use of force to break the strike would “have dangerous implications for which only the government will be responsible”.
Normal life remained affected on Monday as the strike entered its third day. There was hardly any attendance in the State government offices despite clear directives from the administration that salaries of employees would be deducted if they failed to turn up for work. The GJM supporters were picketing outside the office of the District Magistrate in Darjeeling and were later dispersed by the police.
The police also arrested a number of GJM supporters for their alleged involvement in incidents of arson last week. “So far 43 supporters have been arrested. Their arrests are a part of the conspiracy by the State government and will only aggravate the situation here,” Binoy Tamang, assistant general secretary of the GJM, told The Hindu over telephone, from the district.
There was tension in the hills following the arrest of Anit Thapa, a GJM member and close-aid of Mr. Gurung.
There were also reports of the GJM leadership revamping the Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP), a voluntary cell of its activists formed in 2008, when the agitation for the demand for a separate State was at its peak.
Amidst reports that the State government is going to ban the outfit, the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee merely said, “I know all about the GLP.”
A team of State officials including the State’s Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee held a meeting here during the day to review the situation in the hills.
Meanwhile the GJM delegation in New Delhi met the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj during the day.
“She said the BJP is in favour of creation of smaller States and will raise the issue in the party’s parliamentary board,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said, adding that the talks were positive. The delegation is expected to meet Union Minister for Rural Development and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday.