Darjeeling unrest: Gorkhas demand withdrawal of forces

In a major setback to restoring of peace in West Bengal’s volatile hills, all the political parties in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts striving for separate state of Gorkhaland vowed on Tuesday to

Published: 21st June 2017 08:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st June 2017 08:39 AM   |  A+A-

GJM supporters burn an effigy of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Chowk Bazaar during their indefinite bandh in Darjeeling on Monday. | PTI

Express News Service

SILIGURI: In a major setback to restoring of peace in West Bengal’s volatile hills, all the political parties in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts striving for separate state of Gorkhaland vowed on Tuesday to continue with the indefinite strike until armed forces are withdrawn from the hills and to boycott the upcoming Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) elections in July, thus rendering the semi-autonomous council useless.

After an all-party meeting held at Gymkhana Club in Darjeeling on Tuesday, the Gorkhaland parties formed a core committee of the All India Coordination Committee on Gorkhaland to spearhead the movement for statehood on a united platform and nominated Tilak Chandra Roka as the coordinator of the committee.

Speaking to the media after the all-party meeting, former civil service officer P Arjun informed that none of the parties fighting for Gorkhaland statehood would attend the all-party meeting brokered by West Bengal government on June 22 and demanded that Internet services be immediately restored in the hills.
He also stated that further talks with the Centre would be held only on the agenda of Gorkhaland. June 24 has beenfixed for the next all-party meeting.

Besides Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL), Gorkha Rajya Nirman Manch (GRNM), Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP) and Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM) took part in the meeting. A surprise addition to Tuesday’s all-party meeting was GJM’s rival Jan Andolan Party (JAP), a former ally of Trinamool Congress. Meanwhile, the West Bengal government sent a report to the Ministry of Home Affairs in which GJM leaders and supporters have been blamed for the violence and burning of public properties since June 8.

On the other hand, Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia, whose residence in New Delhi was gheraoed by Gorkhaland supporters on Tuesday demanding his active participation in the movement, asked West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to compensate the deaths of four agitators who died in alleged police firing on Saturday.

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