Gorkha Janmukti Morcha calls shut down again in Darjeeling

Last Updated: Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 16:16

Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), demanding a Gorkhaland state, on Thursday called a fresh 48-hour shut down in Darjeeling from August 24 after the arrest of two of its top leaders, even though the Calcutta High Court has expressed displeasure at violation of its order holding such bandhs illegal.

"The Hills will be closed on Saturday and Sunday to condemn the unwanted arrests of GJM leaders," Gurung said in a cryptic Facebook post.

Benoy Tamang, assistant secretary of GJM and an executive member in-charge of Information and Culture Department of the hill council, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), was arrested from Rambi near the Sikkim-West Bengal border in Kalimpong subdivision, police sources said.

Another GTA member and GJM leader Satish Pokhrel, was arrested along with Tamang, besides two others, the sources said.

The four were produced in a court in Kalimpong and remanded to 14 days judicial custody.

With the arrest of Tamang and Pokhrel, 13 GTA members have been arrested since the indefinite bandh began on August three.

The GJM president said in a separate Facebook post that the two-day `ghar bahira janata` (people on the streets) agitation from today would continue indefinitely till those arrested were released and the cases against them withdrawn.

Gurung said that the 721 GJM members, who were in jail, would go on an indefinite hunger strike.

The high court had on August 14 expressed displeasure over the GJM`s violation of its order of August 7 which had held the indefinite bandh in Darjeeling as illegal.

Stating the fundamental rights of the people were being violated, the high court had also asked why the GJM would not be asked to compensate damage to public and private property in the hills.

It had also directed the state government to assess damage to public and private property and submit a report to it.

Meanwhile, Governor MK Narayanan today made clear to the GJM that West Bengal would remain united and if the hill party wanted his intervention, they should seek it.

"If they want my intervention, then they should come around for my intervention. But I have made it very clear that the state of West Bengal extends from the oceans to the mountains," Narayanan said when asked to react to GJM supremo seeking his `mediation`.

Asked whether the Trinamool Congress government in the state has sent him any proposal to mediate, Narayanan said, "That I don`t know. You ask the government."

GJM publicity head Harka Bahadur Chhetri said that all schools and colleges in Darjeeling hills would be exempted from the purview of the agitation and reopen from September one.

PTI




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