Darjeeling stir: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) Chief Bimal Gurung stepped down from the post of chief executive of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) on Friday. Gurung also demanded Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into alleged incidents of police firing on GJM supporters over the last week, ANI reported. Gurung said the indefinite strike will continue and that the all-party meeting has now been postponed to June 29. He also added that the organisation will burn the GTA agreement on June 27. Gurung’s resignation came in the wake of the continous pressure by the GKM in order to step up their stir for a separate state in the Darjeeling Hills. PTI reported 43 other leaders of the Gorkha also quit the Administration. The elected members belonged to the GJM which is spearheading the ongoing movement in the hills for a separate Gorkhaland state.
GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said that the resignations would be forwarded to the GTA principal secretary. Speaking to PTI, GJM general secretary Giri said, “Today we have decided to resign from the GTA. The resignations will be submitted to the principal secretary of GTA.” According to the reports by PTI, Giri alleged that the GTA has been turned into a farce by the West Bengal government. He further said that the GJM and the people of the hills would fight for the single agenda of a separate Gorkhaland state. The GJM’s decision to resign from GTA comes after an all-party meeting in the hills where it was decided that the party would withdraw from the tripartite GTA Accord.
An indefinite bandh was called in the hills by GJM on June 15. The GJM has offered a 12-hour “window” to the schools in the Darjeeling hills to evacuate their students safely to Siliguri and Rongpo. Darjeeling is home to 87 tea gardens and the ongoing shutdown has pushed them to the brink. The tea garden owners feel that they will be losing 45 per cent of their yearly revenue. In the June 20 meeting, all the political parties and public organisations of the hills had unanimously declared their support to the longstanding demand for a separate Gorkhaland state in north Bengal.