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11 Jun 2017

Darjeeling on boil with a month-long bandh call

Deep Gazmer | TNN | Updated: Jun 11, 2017, DARJEELING/SILIGURI: The Darjeeling Hills may be heading for a protracted spell of uncertainty, with the Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha calling for a month-long shutdown of state government offices, civic agencies and banks from Monday.
The GJM's call for total non-cooperation with the Bengal government and the renewed demand for Gorkhaland came within hours of CM Mamata Banerjee ruling out any "compromise" with forces using "bombs and stones".
GJM supporters had played party-pooper on Thursday, hurling bombs and pelting stones at cops and burning down a dozen police vans and a state transport bus, even as Banerjee chaired Bengal's first state cabinet meeting in Darjeeling in 44 years inside the Raj Bhavan.
It remains to be seen how long GJM chief Bimal Gurung can sustain his agitation but it's absolutely certain how the Bengal CM wants to respond to the GJM's strong-arm tactics, which got some support from the combined opposition trade unions' call for a two-day strike at tea gardens.
"My government won't tolerate such things. We can talk to people to restore peace and normalcy but there is no question of any compromise with those who use bombs and stones and resort to bandhs to hide their own failures," the CM said.
GJM general secretary Roshan Giri on Saturday sought to lay down what's within and outside the purview of the month-long administrative shutdown: government offices will not be allowed to work and banks will be allowed to work only twice a week (on Mondays and Thursdays); but educational institutions and transport and emergency services, like water, conservancy, electricity and courts, are exempt from the closure. The aim was unstated but clear: don't kill off tourism and allow people to go about normal life as much as possible but paralyse the state administration. This seems to be setting the stage for a rewind to the pre-Gorkhaland Territorial Administration days of 2008, when people stopped paying state taxes and vehicles in the Hills were forced to use "GL" (Gorkhaland) number plates instead of "WB" (West Bengal).
(Source & Courtesy: Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/darjeeling-on-boil-with-a-month-long-bandh-call/articleshow/59089909.cms )

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