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11 Jun 2017

GJM declares indefinite bandh in Darjeeling over Gorkhaland demand

Amitava Banerjee | MP | 10 Jun 2017 | Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha declared an indefinite bandh in all government (state and Central), Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and Municipality offices and banks in the Darjeeling Hills from Monday.
An emergent GJM Central Committee meeting in Malidhura, five km from Darjeeling town resolved to walk the Gorkhaland path declaring the GTA an absolute failure. The indefinite office bandh announcement comes at a time when the state government has beefed up pressure on the GJM. While a special audit is underway at the GTA, police top brass are camping in Darjeeling and the Chief Minister declaring that law will take its own course in respect to the spurt of violence unleashed in the Hills on Thursday.
Addressing mediapersons after the central committee meeting, Roshan Giri, GJM general secretary stated: "From Monday, offices including state, Central, GTA, Municipality and banks will shut down indefinitely. Banks will however operate on Mondays and Thursdays of the weeks."
All offices will, however, remain open from June 27 till June 30. Though no reasons were given for the four-day exemption, it is a popular belief that usually payrolls are prepared during this period.
Indefinite office closures are not new in the Hills. With the GJM heralding in the agitation for Gorkhaland in 2007, seizing power from the Gorkha National Liberation Front, the Hills have been a witness to prolonged office bandhs which stretched for months only opening during time of salary following which they used to be shut down again.
All emergency services including fire brigade office, health, water supply, conservancy department of the Municipalities and judiciary have been exempted. "This is a non-cooperation movement. The state government collects huge revenue from the Hills. We want to dry this up. There will be picketers to enforce the office bandhs," remarked GJM president Bimal Gurung.
Incidentally, office bandhs along with general bandhs have been strictly countered by the state government in the past with pay cuts and discontinuation of service with Dies non. When questioned on this, Giri stated: "It is for Gorkhaland. The separate state demand is the aspiration of the public. They should be ready to sacrifice their salaries for Gorkhaland."
Giri stated that all signage in the Hills have to be in Nepali and English. On the Gorkhaland agitation front, fire torch rallies will be brought out on Mondays. On Thursdays and Sundays, the GJM will take out Gorkhaland rallies.
"We will hold an all party meeting for Gorkhaland on June 13. All political parties will be invited," stated Giri. Signature campaigns for Gorkhaland will take place throughout the Hills.
Gurung has written to the Home minister to initiate the process of Gorkhaland. "GTA is a failure. It was an interim arrangement. We want the Centre to adopt steps for the creation of Gorkhaland. A GJM team will soon meet the Prime Minister and Union Home minister with this demand. Only Gorkhaland can free us from the oppressive rule of Bengal," declared Giri. 

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