No more shutdowns, GJM wants to run GTA

Darjeeling, Oct 25 : Continuing its placatory moves on the Gorkhaland issue, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) Friday said there will be no more shutdowns. It now wanted to efficiently run the GTA - the autonomous hill development council, it added..

GJM considers running the GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) as the stepping stone towards realising its dream of a separate state, it said.

The GJM, spearheading the Gorkhaland movement in West Bengal's Darjeeling hills, said there were some misunderstandings with the state government and it was hoping to resolve them during its meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee later Friday.

"We have suspended our agitation and now we want to seriously run the GTA without any disturbance. We need the state government's assistance," GJM legislator Harka Bahadur Chettri said.

Chettri also assured that the GJM, which earlier clamped an indefinite shutdown in the region demanding statehood, will not go for any more shutdowns.

"We will not go for anymore shutdowns. GTA is the way forward, statehood is a big demand and it cannot happen at one go," said Chettri.

Incidentally, the GJM earlier claimed the GTA was "not autonomous" and would be "repealed at an appropriate time".

GJM supremo Bimal Gurung quit as its chief executive after the outfit decided to intensify the movement for statehood late July in the wake of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance endorsing a separate Telangana state by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh.

The GJM, however, suspended the movement following Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's assurance to convene tripartite talks over the Gorkhaland issue.

Gurung claimed the talks would be held Oct 23 but parleys did not materialise.

The Gorkha outfit later made a series of placatory moves to improve relations with the Mamata Banerjee regime which took a tough stand on the issue. Ruling out any division of the state, the administration cracked down on the GJM, arresting over 1,000 Morcha leaders and supporters.

Chettri said the foremost agenda of the meeting with Banerjee is to secure the release of the arrested Morcha leaders.

"Release of our leaders is on top of the agenda. We hope the government seriously wants us to run the GTA and it will help us by releasing the arrested leaders," added Chettri.

Armed with more powers than its predecessor, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council formed in the late 1980s, the GTA was created July 18, 2011 via a tripartite agreement between the GJM and the state and central governments.

The GJM swept the GTA's maiden elections last year.

--IANS (Posted on 25-10-2013)

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