DARJEELING (WB): All parties of Darjeeling hills today decided to continue with the indefinite shutdown, which entered its 22nd day, saying the people want it to go on till their dream of a separate Gorkhaland state is achieved.
A five-hour-long meeting witnessed an intense debate on whether to continue the bandh, which started on June 15 for a separate Gorkhaland state, before deciding to carry on with it.
"There was an intense debate on whether to continue the shutdown or not. But most of the members of the GMCC were in favour of continuing the shutdown. People of the hills want this to continue till the dream of Gorkhaland is achieved," Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh president Sukhman Moktan told PTI.
The all-party meeting saw the first assembly of the newly-formed Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC). It has 30 members who are representatives of all the hill based parties like the GJM, the GNLF, the JAP and the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh.
The next all-party meeting will be held on July 18.
Moktan said a resolution was passed condemning the "police provocation" in Kalimpong yesterday. Several GJM supporters and police personnel were injured yesterday during clashes between them.
"We also condemned the way Trinamool Congress workers and police are stopping supply trucks from coming to the hills.
But such tricks will not stop us from continuing our strike in the hills," he said.
According to a GMCC member, Harka Bhadur Chetri's Jan Andolan Party (JAP) and Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) were in favour of withdrawing the shutdown as it is leading to a food crisis in the hills.
"But GJM and other parties were in favour of continuing the strike. They feel it the only way to have their demands being accepted by the government," said the GMCC member on condition of anonymity.
Besides, GJM chief Bimal Gurung's statement two days ago that the party would continue the shutdown has put an added pressure on the members of the GMCC, he said.
Today's meeting, the third in 22 days, started at 1 pm and lasted till 6 pm. The first two all-party meetings were held on June 20 and June 29.
Meanwhile, GJM activists today took out rallies demanding Gorkhaland in various parts of the hills. Except for pharmacies, all the shops, schools and colleges remained closed.
While Internet service remained suspended for the 19th day in a row, the police and security forces patrolled the streets and kept a tight vigil at the entry and exit routes.