Indefinite bandh stays: GJMM

The Statesman


Hectic business on the first day of the two-day breather. n SNS
Darjeeling, 1August The GJMM stated in no uncertain terms that the Darjeeling shutdown would continue for an indefinite period, scotching speculation in some circles of the media since the morning that it had decided to limit the shutdown to 96 hours in view of Id next week.
GJMM president Bimal Gurung said, “We had initially thought of shortening the strike and providing a four-day breather. But the party has hardened its stance in view of the announcement from the Centre about deployment of fresh CRPF companies in the Hills.”
He said the agitation was going ahead peacefully and along democratic lines.
“We are saddened by the Centre having decided to suppress the spontaneous movement of the people by deploying Central forces,” he noted.
According to the Darjeeling Superintendent of Police, 16 platoons of different paramilitary forces, including one company of female CRPF, have been deployed so far in the Hills.
“Five more might be added to their existing strength,” a senior police officer said.
Mr Gurung further said there would be relaxation only on Independence Day.  He further said the party will hold public meetings on 11 August. According to observers, Mr Gurung and his party have changed the decision of providing a breather and opted for the indefinite shutdown in view of the state government having supposedly prevailed upon the Centre against giving assurances to the GJMM delegation that would leave for Delhi tomorrow to meet some Central ministers on the issue of Gorkhaland.
Meanwhile, the people of the Hills rushed to collect essential items on the first day of the two-day breather. “We did not imagine that the shutdown would really drag for days on end. But now with the situation compounding fast, we are tightening belts for more hard days ahead,” said a resident of Darjeeling.
Long queues were found all the day around the ATM counters across the town. Markets were over-crowded. Traffic got muddled in jams at several intersections.


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