The Bengal Post
Darjeeling-The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) programme of conducting dharnas in front of all government offices on Monday tuned out to be something of a damp squib as not many office employees participated in the agitation.
The Morcha had earlier postponed their programme of all government offices being closed from March 9 to 27 as part of their non-cooperation movement and instead, had announced another programme of all government and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) employees shouting slogans of ‘We want Gorkhaland’ every day from March 9 till April 9 from noon for about a hour. With the 9th and the 10th being a Saturday and Sunday, the programme was to start on Monday.
However, barring a few offices, it was seen that in the maximum number of government offices in the hills, no dharna was held except for Kurseong, where they were held in front of most government offices. There was no dharna in front of the Darjeeling district magistrate’s office.
It was also seen that in most government offices, the dharna started only at around 2 pm, not the timing that had been announced by the Morcha. The reason for this could be that lunchtime in government offices is at around 2 pm. Some offices under the GTA which have their lunchtime at around noon, however, had employees holding the dharna at noon itself.
When asked about the reasons for which the dharna was not held in all the government offices on Monday, Morcha assistant secretary Jyoti Kumar Rai said: “As per our information, dharnas were held in many places, barring a few government offices like the district magistrate’s office. The reason for this could be that most of them do not know about the programmes that we have announced and only know about the postponement of the earlier programmes. We will talk to our unions and make sure that those offices which did not have such programmes would do it from Tuesday onwards.”
On March 8, after a central committee meeting at Kurseong, the GJM postponed their earlier announced programmes like strikes and office closures to a later date and had further added new programmes on those dates instead.
As part of its programme for the demand of statehood, the GJM had earlier also called a four days of strikes on March 14 and 15 along with March 21 and 22. In their place, they had said that on those days, they would hold silent rallies with their supporters carrying placards in support of the demand.