Darjeeling unrest: The story till now

Darjeeling shutdown to continue as ‘all-party’ meeting rejects State government’s talks offer

Nurses walk for work as security personnel look on during the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's indefinite strike in Darjeeling.   | Photo Credit: PTI

An “all-party” meeting held in Darjeeling on Tuesday to discuss the Gorkhaland issue failed to offer any relief to the crisis in the hills. It was decided to continue with the indefinite shutdown, which has forced almost all the tourists to leave the town in West Bengal.

The Hindu correspondent Vijaita Singh reports from New Delhi that even as the Gorkha parties' meeting was on, the State government told the Centre that several cases had been registered against the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) for instigating violence in Darjeeling.

The “all-party” meeting put the onus of restoration of normality on the State government. It said that none of the participant parties would take part in talks scheduled by the government for June 22 in Siliguri.

They also unanimously decided that the GJM would withdraw from the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, an elected body for the Darjeeling hills formed after the 2011 tripartite agreement. 

To take forward Gorkhaland demand, the meeting decided to form an all-India forum, details of which will be decided at their next meeting on June 24.  

The meeting at the Darjeeling Gymkhana Club was attended by 14 representatives of various political parties and social organisations, including the GJM, Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists, Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha and the Gorkha Rashtriya Nirman Mancha.

Security personnel patrol a road during GJM strike in Darjeeling

Security personnel patrol a road during GJM strike in Darjeeling   | Photo Credit: PTI


The hills witnessed a near total shutdown on June 19 due to the indefinite strike.

'Setback to economy'

Former GJM MLA and president of the Jan Andolan party (JAP) Harka Bahadur Chettri said, “The demand for Gorkhaland is a democratic demand and the movement for it has to be democratic. By enforcing shutdown, we are crippling the economy of the hills.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who left for the Netherlands during the day, called for peace in the hills. “Instead of playing with fire, try to safeguard peace. Solutions through meetings and dialogues can happen only if peace is maintained,” she said.

GJM president Bimal Guru, who attended the funeral of the deceased in Saturday’s firing, said the movement in the hills would intensify. He blamed the Chief Minister for the violence.

BJP MP absent

The GJM and other political parties in the hills have described the absence of Darjeeling BJP MP S.S. Ahluwalia at the time of the ongoing crisis as “unfortunate”.

“On both occasions, the BJP has given its assurance that the party will sympathetically examine and appropriately consider the long-standing demand of the people of Darjeeling Terai and Dooars,” Mr. Chettri said.

Representatives of the GNLF and the JAP said it was time the BJP made its stand clear on the Gorkhaland issue.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 6:33:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/darjeeling-gjm-unrest-near-total-shutdown-in-the-hills/article19102698.ece

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