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28 Jun 2017

GJM burns GTA accord copies, resorts to 'tubelight protest'

Deep Gazmer & Dwaipayan Ghosh| TNN | Jun 28, 2017, DARJEELING: Passions ran high in the Hills on the 13th day of the indefinite bandh making it a tightrope walk for the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders to match the expectations of the party's youth wing on one hand and see to it that the movement doesn't end up in anarchy.
Pro-statehood supporters on Tuesday tried to set a block development office at Tukdah on fire and torched two government vehicles parked in front, 19.5 kilometres from Darjeeling town though GJM denied a hand in the violence. It came close on the heels of the Kalimpong arson on Monday night when a motley crowd torched the house of Khas Development Board.
Senior GJM leaders are des Senior GJM leaders are desperately looking up to Delhi to open the dialogue route as depleting food stocks and suspended banking and internet facilities have put the people's nerves on the edge.
In a bid to give vent to the building anger among its supporters, Gorkha Yuva Morcha supporters bared their bodies and broke tube lights on their backs at the Motor Stand in Darjeeling while pro-statehood supporters burnt copies of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) agreement to mark the end of the autonomy regime that had begun six years ago in July 2011.
Around 7,000-odd GJM supporters, mostly women and youth, marched from Darjeeling station at 11am, holding the national flag aloft to Chowkbazar. Police were on their toes when as many as 13 GTA supporters broke tube lights on their backs letting out blood amid pro-Gorkhaland slogans.Women continued with the sloganeering for about half an hour setting the stage for burning copies of the GTA agree ment. GTA activists described the act as the GTA funeral to break away from what they called an "oppressive treaty". A huge police force along with 50 paramilitary forces on riot gears bore with the GJM supporters to avert violence like the one in Singmari on June 17.

While police went on a low key, the state stepped up its financial scrutiny of the GTA accounts. Amid pro-statehood slogans, an 18-member PWD audit team tiptoed into Darjeeling town to examine the GTA accounts. The team among other things will examine the project cost of the parking lot and the supermarket coming up at a stone's throw from the DM's bungalow.
The burning of GTA copies was extended to all the 45 GTA wards and also down to Pintel village at Sukna near Siliguri where the GTA agreement was signed. The Morcha supporters while doing these carried the tricolour to send out signals that they are not anti-nationals or terrorists lest an adverse impression chokes the dialogue window with the Centre.
For the first time, senior GJM leaders resurfaced in the town area in the morning to take the lead while police kept a close watch on proceedings.However, the other 13 Hills parties stayed away . "Today is the GTA funeral. From today onwards, no one in the Hills will utter the word GTA. Now any talks, if at all, will be with the Centre only for a separate state," GJM assistant secretary Binay Tamang said. He said GJM won't allow the state to forcibly hold elections to the GTA.He also warned other Hills parties against participating in it.
Call for peace and unity rally
A citizen's forum for peace and unity has called for a rally in the plains on Friday against `efforts to fan Gorkha and Bengali sentiments'. The rally will begin from Baghajatin Park in Siliguri and end at the Kanchenjunga Stadium."We have urged people to lay down party flags and join the peace rally," said convener and columnist Somen Nag. (Source & Courtesy: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/gjm-burns-gta-accord-copies-resorts-to-tubelight-protest/articleshow/59346393.cms)

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