Darjeeling: GJM holds joint meeting, decides to continue strike

Citizens demanded that the Centre government intervene and take note of the violation of human rights committed by the state against the people of Darjeeling. Jana Andalon Party president Harka Bahadur Chettri, who did not participate in the last meeting, was one of the invitees of today's meeting after he joined the movement for statehood four days back.

"We are not Bengalis, Bengali is not our mother tongue, nearly everyone in Darjeeling hills speaks Nepali, so why should we be forced to learn Bengali in schools?" asked Bimal Gurung, the chairperson of the GJM, as he renewed demands for Gorkhaland.

Delhi paved way for creation of Telangana state in 2014 but had "maintained deliberate indifference" towards people's aspirations for separate state in other parts of the country, the statement claimed.

"A total of 36 police personnel were injured in the clashes on June 17, and many of them by the stones thrown by GJM agitators", said Siddhinath Gupta, additional director general of police. She further said that she would not be able to be present at the meeting but has given responsibility to her ministers and bureaucrats to attend it. We all work everywhere in the state. "We are against a separate Gorkhaland".

Meanwhile, security forces were patrolling the streets and internet services remained suspended for the third day on Tuesday.

At Singabari, an angry mob slashed the throat of a police official when he was trying to stop them from setting fire to police and government vehicles. "Mamata Banerjee would also be called in the meeting", said the BJP lawmaker.

"We have asked travel operators and hotels to try and accommodate as many tourists as they can without compromising on the service standards as any mismanagement at this time could give a bad name to the tourism industry", Zangpo said. He also denied that the BJP manifesto espouses a separate state, stating that they only pledged support for the solution of "Gorkhas' problems", which he said can also include development. As Darjeeling remained on the boil over a separate statehood agitation, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday appealed to protesters not to resort to violence and, instead, hold dialogue to resolve any issue. Except medicine shops, all others shops, hotels were closed in the hills.

  • Joey Payne