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19 Jun 2017

JAP to shed flags & join movement

RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, Kalimpong, June 18: The Jana Andolan Party today said it would keep aside its flags and join the "people's movement" for Gorkhaland on a day people from different walks of life and cutting across party lines took out a massive march through the streets here.
JAP president Harka Bahadur Chhetri said no single party could claim ownership of the on-going agitation which was being led by the public. "This movement is not on the hands of any one party. The entire movement has been taken away by the people. This has morphed into a people's movement. We, too, have decided to keep aside our flag and take to the streets and join the public," he said.
After the start of the fresh round of the agitation for Gorkhaland following the June 8 incident in Darjeeling where Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters clashed with police, the Morcha had called an all-party meeting to evolve a joint strategy to lead the movement. The JAP put up conditions before the Morcha but later became a part of the joint initiative.
Chhetri said what was very clear was that no single party could take the movement to its logical conclusion and it was now up to the masses to do so. "We believe it is the masses who can take the movement to its logical conclusion."
The JAP president also asked people from the hills, Dooars and the Terai not to fall victim to the state government's attempt at labelling them terrorists by indulging in any acts of violence. "The chief minister has sought to label us as terrorists by liking us to the insurgents of the Northeast and even alleging the involvement of a foreign hand. We must be careful because a conspiracy is being hatched to portray us as terrorists," he said, while referring to Mamata Banerjee's allegation.
The sea of protesters at the rally also assailed the chief minister for her comments. "Are arrows and farm tools explosive devices sourced from the insurgent groups in the Northeast? She and the media, which went to town with it, must be joking. I do not have any party affiliation, but I have come to attend the rally to protest the police atrocities on our people and attempts by Mamata Banerjee to portray us as terrorists," said Bhushan Chhetri, a businessman.
The three-time Kalimpong MLA and president of the Kalimpong town committee of Trinamul resigned from both his post and ordinary membership of the party, citing alleged police atrocities and expressing solidarity with the movement. "I condemn the killings of our people. I joined politics for Gorkhaland in the 1980s. I can be mute to the atrocities being committed against our people," he said.
Incidents of arson were reported from different parts of the Kalimpong district for the fourth day running today. The gram panchayat offices of Dalim and Allay villages under Gorubathan block and the Kalimpong subdivisional library were torched by protesters. Late in the evening, a police van was also set ablaze at Pedong village.

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