DARJEELING: The GJM suspended for an indefinite time frame from today after more than three months of agitations that cost 11 lives in the hills of Darjeeling. Morcha chief Bimal Gurung urged hill residents to resume transport services, reopen shops and schools and colleges.
The announcement from the GJM came late yesterday night, hours after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh “appealed to the GJM and its leader Bimal Gurung to withdraw the ongoing bandh and to help create a conductive atmosphere for allowing normalcy to return to the area”.
Point to be noted here is that the GJM had launched the agitation to protest a West Bengal government rule to make teaching Bengali mandatory in the hill station’s schools but later scaled up the demand to call for carving a separate state to be called Gorkhaland.
Ranjath Singh also announced that Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba had been told to convene an official-level meeting to discuss all related issues, apparently before talks can start.
Bimal Gurung, who was recognised as the leader of the hill parties in the Home Minister’s statement, has been charged under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act or UAPA and has been in hiding.
On an expected note, West Bengal Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Gautam Deb called Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s appeal a “face saver” to GJM’s Bimal Gurung.