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3 Jul 2017

GNLF sets meeting condition on Morcha - Onus put on Gurung

A Morcha bike rally from Kurseong reaches Darjeeling on Sunday. Picture by Passang Yolmo
TT, Calcutta, July 2: The GNLF has said its president Mann Ghisingh will attend meetings of all hill-based parties when Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung is present.
Three meetings of all hill-based parties have been convened to decide on the course of the statehood agitation since the unrest began in Darjeeling on June 8, but neither Gurung nor the heads of other Gorkha organisations have attended them.
Neeraj Zimba, the GNLF spokesperson, said in Darjeeling today: "N.B. Chhetri, the former GNLF MLA, and I have been nominated to represent the party in the Gorkhaland Movement Co-ordination Committee. There has been a general understanding from the first day that presidents of other parties, including Mann Ghisingh, will attend such meetings when Gurung will be present."
The 30-member co-ordination committee, made up of two representatives each of parties from the hills and the plains seeking Gorkhaland, was formed at the last meeting on June 29 to carry forward the statehood movement.
"Morcha leaders have said they will inform us about Gurung's presence so that we can accordingly be prepared to send our president to the meeting," said Zimba.
A few days before the all-party meeting on June 29, Gurung had told The Telegraph that he "might" attend it. He eventually skipped the meet.
The next meeting of all hill-based parties would be held on July 6.
Morcha sources said that it had been decided that Gurung would start attending the meetings after a few a more sessions.
The GNLF today said it was in favour of the ongoing strike.
"Since the public is overwhelmingly favouring the general strike, we, too, want the shutdown to continue," Zimba said, adding that the party would hold processions across the hills from 2pm tomorrow in favour of Gorkhaland.
Today, hundreds of Morcha supporters demonstrated outside Darjeeling Sadar police station demanding that party cadres arrested during the unrest be kept in Darjeeling. Later in the evening, over 40 bikers brought out a rally in support of Gorkhaland from Kurseong to Darjeeling.
The Morcha today accused the state government of staging the arsons and attacks on its offices in the hills.
"The Morcha finds it intriguing how these arsons and attacks on government offices and properties are taking place in the presence of so many police and CRPF personnel. We doubt that the people who are doing this are hand-in-glove with the Bengal government to defame the Morcha," said Binay Tamang, the assistant general secretary of the Morcha.

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