The GJM leadership will take a call today on whether to attend the August 29 talks convened by the West Bengal government to discuss the Darjeeling crisis in response to the letter by the GNLF. The GJM leadership is in a fix on whether to attend the dialogue as they are yet to receive any official invitation from the state government. On the other hand, the shutdown in the hills which entered its 70th day today has taken a heavy toll on normal life in the region. “We will discuss the matter within our party and with other constituents of the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC). A dialogue without the GJM, which is the main stakeholder in the Gorkhaland movement, can never be successful,” a senior GJM leader said.
The GMCC too is divided on the question of attending the meeting. It has not gone down well with most of the GMCC members that the GNLF on its own wrote a letter to the state government with an appeal for talks, without its approval. The GNLF leadership, however, termed it as a “sincere effort” on its part to restore normalcy in the hills. The government had yesterday invited the GNLF for talks on August 29 on the Darjeeling stalemate, but had snubbed the agitation being spearheaded by the GJM. A miffed GJM alleged it was an attempt to undermine it and the GMCC and said a dialogue can only be successful if the main stakeholders are included.
Meanwhile, no incident of violence was reported in the hills since last night. The GJM today took out rallies in various parts of the hills demanding restoration of Internet services, banned in the region since June 18, and an immediate withdrawal of the police from Darjeeling. Some political party activists dressed in traditional Nepali attire also took out rallies and raised slogans in support of Gorkhaland. The GJM activists and NGOs were seen distributing food among the local people like other days as food supply has been severely hit in the prolonged shutdown. Barring pharmacies, all other shops, business establishments, schools and colleges were shut.