With the indefinite shutdown in the Darjeeling hills entering its 47th day, all eyes are now on the all-party meeting, scheduled to be held in New Delhi today. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has given a 10-day deadline to the Centre to intervene in the logjam arising out of its demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland or else, it has threatened to intensify the movement in the days to come. “We have given a 10-day deadline to the Union government. An indefinite shutdown is going on for 47 days, the Centre can’t just sit idle when the hills are burning,” GJM assistant general secretary Binay Tamang told reporters last night.
The 30-member Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC), a body of all the hill parties, is in Delhi to take part in the all-party meet. The GMCC members have also decided to meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh with a copy of the resolution to be adopted at the meeting tomorrow. “We have decided to meet the home minister with a copy of the resolution. The Centre needs to take concrete action,” Munish Tamang, national working president, Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, told PTI. Meanwhile, GJM supremo Bimal Gurung condemned the police action on the party workers in the hills. “All our programmes are being carried out peacefully and in a democratic way, but it is extremely saddening that the (West Bengal) government is trying to portray the movement as an undemocratic one and using brutal force to curb it,” he told reporters.
Gurung refuted the allegations that the GJM was in a “tacit understanding” with the Maoists, describing them as “baseless”. The police and security forces patrolled the streets of the hills and kept a tight vigil at all the entry and exit points. The GJM supporters took out rallies at Chowkbazar during the day amid patrolling by the police and security forces. Workers of the outfit and various NGOs of the hills were also seen distributing food among the people as the food supply has been severely hit due to the indefinite shutdown. Normal life remained crippled due to the strike. Barring the medicine shops, all other business establishments, restaurants, hotels, schools and colleges remained closed.