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28 Jun 2017

Violence in Hills: GJM burns copies of GTA Accord and Act

MP | 2017-06-27, Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Monday torched copies of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Accord and Act as a symbolic gesture bringing an end of the Morcha's association with this administrative arrangement.

Copies of the accord and Act were torched throughout the Hills and even in Pintail village near Siliguri. Pintail village was the venue where the GTA Accord was signed between the Union, state and the GJM in the presence of the then Union Home minister P Chidambaram, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and GJM president Bimal Gurung on July 18, 2011.

The tripartite accord had paved way for the formation of GTA in the Hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts. Election to the GTA was held on July 30, 2012. After winning all 45 seats of the GTA, the GJM members led by Gurung had been sworn to office on August 4, 2012.

On June 23, 2017, Gurung along with the GJM elected and nominated members had tendered their resignations from the GTA en masse and had announced their decision to walk to Gorkhaland demand path.

"The burning of the GTA Act and Accord ends our association with the GTA. We will no more agree to any interim arrangement like the GTA. We are agitating on the one point agenda of Gorkhaland. The state government will forcefully conduct GTA elections soon as the process has to be completed before August 4. We appeal to all parties not to take part in the GTA elections. If any party takes part, they will be doing so at their own risk," warned Binay Tamang, assistant secretary, GJM.

Tamang reiterated that the GJM will not sit in talks with the state. "We will sit with the Centre alone that too with the single-point agenda of Gorkhaland," added Tamang.
Thousands of GJM supporters gathered at Motor Stand in Darjeeling where copies of the GTA Accord and Act were torched on Monday. Though security forces were present, they stood in the backdrop clearly avoiding any confrontation. Copies were torched at Kurseong, Kalimpong, Mirik and other places.

In a press conference when questioned on the decision of the CPI(M) and Congress parties to send their MLAs and MPs to the Hills to review the situation, GJM spokesperson Binita Roka stated: "We feel that none of these parties support the separate state of Gorkhaland demand. Hence, we have nothing to do with their visit."
Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha (GJYM-youth wing of the GJM) supporters took out a bare body rally breaking tubelights on their backs, injuring themselves. "If the Centre does not immediately intervene, we could start a fast unto death or even self immolation," stated Prakash Gurung, president, GJYM.

Meanwhile, violence and arson continued unabated on the 13th day of the indefinite bandh by the GJM in the Darjeeling Hills. A group of alleged GJM supporters vandalised the BDO office in Tukdah and set fire to it. The police rushed to the spot and doused the fire. There were incidents of stone pelting on state buses at Lohapool while the buses were returning from Siliguri to Kalimpong. Late on Monday night, the house of Rajen Bhetwal, Khus Development Board at Painyu-gaon, Algarah, Kalimpong was torched along with three vehicles. His wife and son were inside the house but were rescued by the neighbours and police.

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