Darjeeling, Aug 10 IANS | 12 months ago

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) Saturday demanded West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee take back her 72-hour ultimatum on withdrawing the shutdown in Darjeeling hills and warned of "bloodshed" if she stuck to her stand.


"We have heard that Mamata Banerjee has given a 72-hour ultimatum and will use police to withdraw the shutdown. This is not right. Lakhs and lakhs of people will hit the streets. If she wants to pursue her politics by killing people, then we are ready," GJM chief Bimal Gurung said here.

Earlier in the day, Banerjee issued a 72-hour deadline for GJM to withdraw the shutdown, "failing which the government will be compelled to take strong action".

"We will go ahead with our movement undeterred. If anybody has recourse to force, then there will bloodshed and the responsibility for that will be on Mamata," Gurung said.

"I also want to warn the centre that whatever happens now, the sole responsibility for that will be on the Bengal government," he added.

Asking Banerjee to withdraw her ultimatum, Gurung said the GJM will enforce a people's curfew in the region.

"She will have to take back her ultimatum. Otherwise we will impose public curfew here. Not a single person will come out on the roads. Everybody will remain indoors. Let her do what she wants. But we will not waver on our aim, our demand of Gorkhaland," said Gurung.

The GJM chief said the party would not be cowed down by Banerjee's diktat and asserted that the central government would have to concede the demand for Gorkhaland like it did on Telangana.

"We are not against Mamata but we want to convey to her that Gorkhaland is our democratic right, our identity. She cannot infringe upon that right. If she does that then she will have to declare that we are either from China, Bangladesh Nepal or Pakistan," added Gurung.

The Gorkhaland movement has left many dead over the past two decades, besides affecting the region's economy based on tea, timber and tourism.

Life in the North West Bengal hills have been crippled since the past week following the GJM intensifying its movement announcing an indefinite shutdown to press for their demand of a separate Gorkhaland - to be carved out of parts of Darjeeling and its neighbouring Jalpaiguri district - following the Congress and the United Progressive Alliance's endorsement of statehood to Telangana.

Nearly 200 GJM supporters, activists and leaders have been arrested since the shutdown began. Two people have tried self-immolation with one of them succumbing to his injuries.

(Posted on 10-08-2013)