Darjeeling, Aug 13 IBNS | 2 years ago

The indefinite bandh in West Bengal's Darjeeling hills called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in demand of a separate Gorkhaland state entered its eleventh day on Tuesday.

According to reports, around 200 GJM supporters have been arrested so far.

The GJM sponsored all-party meeting remained inconclusive on Monday and will resume again on Aug 16 even as the strike continued to cripple life in the hills.

GJM leader Harka Bahadur Chettri told reporters after the meeting at Gymkhana Hall that the all-party meeting only discussed the fate of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), an autonomous body, after its chief executive Bimal Gurung, who is also the GJM president, quit early this month.

Chettri, who before joining an exclusive meeting of the GJM at Singhmari, said barring the Independence Day on Aug 15, agitational programme like "janata curfew " would remain in force on Aug 13 and Aug 14.

"We will again meet on August 16 for all-party meeting and decide the future course of action," Chettri said.

Sources inside the meeting said most of the members attended the meeting were in favour of continuing agitation for separate statehood for Gorkhas.

The GJM sponsored all- party meeting was attended by the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxist (CPRM), All India Gorkha League, Gorkha Task Force, Hill Congress and some others.

The meeting had assumed significance after the state government on Saturday served a 72-hour ultimatum to call off the strike or face strong action. The meeting was held for about 150 minutes but remained inconclusive.

West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), main opposition Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) and Subash Ghishing led GNLF did not take part in the meeting.

Former state urban minister and CPI(M) leader Ashok Bhattacharya said they did not favour division of the state.

He said their party believe in peaceful negotiation to solve the problem with greater power to the area.

But the way the present government was handling the situation would only antagonise the hill people.

Earlier, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said the UPA II had foment the present situation in different parts of the country after taking issue of Telangana. He said if those demands were met then more 22 new states will have to be created in India.

Meanwhile, crackdown on the pro-bandh supporters continued in the hills with total arrest 215 so far, official sources said.

(Posted on 13-08-2013)