No breakthrough in Darjeeling standoff

Darjeeling, Aug 8 : Uncertainly looms large as there is no sign of any immediate breakthrough in Darjeeling as the indefinite general strike sponsored by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) demanding a separate statehood entered the 6th day on Thursday.

GJM president Bimal Gurung, who resigned as the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) chief executive last week, refused to hold any talk with the West Bengal government and is hoping to get an appointment with the central leaders.

Party sources said Gurung was hoping to get an appointment either with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi or Chairperson of the Indian Youth Congress Rahul Gandhi so that he could apprise them of the latest situation of Darjeeling.

West Bengal Chief Minster Mamata Banerjee had already ruled out the division of the state.

Meanwhile, crackdown by the security forces continued, especially against those GJM activists who had old records of offences and against the Gorkhland Personnel (GLP), a private army of the GJM.

Official sources said so far 148 people have been arrested from various parts of Darjeeling since the second phase of the indefinite strike began on Saturday.

Among them are Anit Thapa and Ankit Yanzone, the closest aides to Bimal Gurung.

Both Thapa and Yanzone were on Thursday shifted to a Siliguri jail as space in the prisons of Darjeeing are inadequate owing to large scale arrests.

The GJM activists continued picketing at all important places and launched silent procession while the security forces marched in front of all vital installations to face any eventuality.

--IBNS (Posted on 08-08-2013)

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