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Hill parties decide to continue shutdown in Darjeeling

LiveMint logoLiveMint 06-07-2017 PTI

Darjeeling: All parties of Darjeeling hills on Thursday 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 (shutdown), which started on 15 June for a separate Gorkhaland state, before deciding to carry on with it. “There was intense debate on whether to continue the shutdown or not. But most of the members of the GMCC (Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee) 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 Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), the Jan Andolan Party (JAP) and the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh.

The next all-party meeting will be held on 18 July. Moktan said a resolution was passed condemning the “police provocation” in Kalimpong on Wednesday. Several GJM supporters and police personnel were injured on Wednesday during clashes between them.

“We also condemned the way Trinamool Congress (TMC) 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 JAP and 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 1pm and lasted till 6pm. The first two all-party meetings were held on 20 June and 29 June.

Meanwhile, GJM activists on Thursday took out rallies demanding Gorkhaland in various parts of the hills. Except 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 tight vigil at the entry and exit routes.

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