Darjeeling standoff: GJM defies CM ultimatum

Darjeeling, Aug 10 : A direct face off is imminent as Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung on Saturday refused to withdraw the indefinite Darjeeling shut down, barely hours after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's ultimatum to end the bandh within 72 hours or face "strong action".

Reacting to the government's ultimatum during the day from the Writers Buildings, GJM supremo Bimal Gurung dared the chief minister to take action and said the indefinite strike would be continued for Gorkha statehood.

GJM's assistant secretary Binay Tamang said they would intensify the agitation and if anything happens during the movement then the government must take responsibility.

"If the bandh is not withdrawn within 72 hours, the government would be forced to take strong action," Banerjee announced while Darjeeling shutdown entered the 8th day crippling life on the hills totally.

"Enough is enough," said the chief minister pointing out that no county or the state was divided on racial basis.

She said there was vested interest parties looking for an MP seat (Darjeeling) and provoking or inciting the division of the people.

Ruling out any division of West Bengal, Banerjee asked the GJM to "call off the strike for the interest of the people, for the region, for the state and for the all round development".

She also asked the Union government not to interfere in the state's matter.

"I request the Centre not to interfere in the matters of the state. It's our matter and we would solve it. The Centre is pursuing a divide and rule policy. I would request them not to try to break Bengal. This is a sick mentality," she said.

"There is some trouble with broadcasting on satellite channels. It is a routine check-up. As soon as the cable operators show their papers, we would allow telecast again. It is a small matter," she said.

"I will tell my friends in Darjeeling to end the strike now for the welfare of the people." Banerjee said.

"Darjeeling is our heart. It is a part and parcel of West Bengal," she said.

She however, did not spell out what sort of action would be initiated if the bandh was not withdrawn by next three days.

Meanwhile, the security forces on the hills beefed up policing and patrolling and rounded up 190 activists so far, according to Darjeeling superintendent of police Kunal Agarwal.

--IBNS (Posted on 10-08-2013)

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