Darjeeling, Aug 24 IBNS | 2 years ago

Life on the Darjeeling hills returned to a standstill with a fresh shut down which began on Saturday in protest against the arrest of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activists even as the West Bengal government held an emergency meeting to chalk out an action program to dispatch food and essentials in the strike bound areas.

West Bengal food minister Jyotipriya Mallick while claiming that some 6-7 leaders were trying to keep people without food and essentials for their vested interests, said the government agencies would not stop dispatching food for the hills' people.

Mallick called an emergency meeting in the Writers Buildings on Saturday with food secretary and fifteen others including distributors and Public Distribution System (PDS) owners from the hills to iron out how rations and essentials could be distributed.

The government agencies are distributing rice and atta from 11 points in Mirik and Sukiapokhari, but the GJM claimed that there was no taker.

Mallick said some leaders in the hills were trying to keep people in starvation, which the government cannot allow to happen.

GJM president Bimal Gurung said the government had violated the tripartite agreement as it has not withdrawn the political cases against Morcha leaders from 2007-2011.

He said that three GJM Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) will boycott the West Bengal Legislative Assembly as a protest against the "unwanted
arrests of 721 innocent Gorkhaland supporters in old cases."

The GJM also decided to boycott the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) meeting called by principal secretary R D Meena on Sept 4.

In a fresh crackdown three GJM activists - Arun Diwali, Bhaskar Mukhia and Jiten Sutang - accused of arson at Pokhriabong police outpost on Aug 2 were arrested.

Meanwhile, GJM assistant secretary Binay Tamang and Sabhashad Satish Pokhrel began indefinite hungers strike in the jail since Friday evening.

Gurung asserting his supremacy said "Their 'hukumat' order is final in the hills".

Gurung on Saturday alleged that the paramilitary forces were using excessive force to enter people's house during raids, which was however denied by the officials.

State police said no such thing happened as raids were conducted to the habitual offenders in the hills.

They said extra-ordinary care has been taken to ensure that no innocent people were harassed during raids.

(Posted on 24-08-2013)