‘GJM backed down over promise made during talks’

As the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha’s renewed shutdown of government offices in the Hills entered its third day,state Minister for Municipal Affairs and Urban Development Ashok Bhattacharya slammed the outfit for not adhering to its assurance of suspending its movement.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published:January 10, 2009 2:45 am

As the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha’s (GJM) renewed shutdown of government offices in the Hills entered its third day,state Minister for Municipal Affairs and Urban Development Ashok Bhattacharya slammed the outfit for not adhering to its assurance of suspending its movement.

He claimed that Morcha had assured this during the second round of tripartite talks held in New Delhi on December 29.

Since January 7,the GJM has enforced a shutdown of all government offices and development work as part of its “non-cooperation” movement.

In Siliguri,Bhattacharya said the GJM had assured Central and the state government delegations that will not launch any movement,which will disrupt administrative work in the Hills till the third round of talks. The CPM legislator from Siliguri,the minister added: “If district administration employees are keeping away from work due to the GJM diktat,their salaries should be withheld.”

The minister’s statement,however,drew an angry response from GJM Secretary Roshan Giri. “We have made no such promise to anybody,at any time. Was Ashok Bhattacharya present during the meeting? The Centre had told us to go easy on the movement,but we said we will discuss the matter in a party meeting,” Giri told The Indian Express. “Our shutdown was announced earlier and is part of our democratic movement. The CPM is trying to create trouble for us,” he added.

Bhattacharya’s statement came on the day GJM president Bimal Gurung addressed a public meeting in Siliguri after his return from New Delhi,where he said he met senior BJP leaders L K Advani,Rajnath Singh,Sushma Swaraj and S S Ahluwalia. “The BJP leaders said they recognised Gorkhaland as our constitutional demand,and are finding ways to support our stand. They expressed sympathy with our movement. On behalf of the Nepali people,I thanked them for opposing the Sixth Schedule,” Gurung said at the meeting.

Supporters of DYFI,the CPM’s youth wing,meanwhile,blocked roads and held protests in front of the Bhaktinagar police station in Siliguri,falling under Jalpaiguri district. “The agitation was held to protest against the police releasing local GJM leader P K Ghising on bail,following a scuffle between him and some DYFI leaders on Thursday night,” Jalpaiguri SP Manoj Verma said.

“People were arrested from both the groups after the parties lodged complaints with the police. Since the cases were registered under bailable sections,we released everyone on bail at the police station itself,” he added.

Giri,however,said the police had tricked GNLF chief Subash Ghising into coming to the police station. “He was asked to come to the police station to lodge his complaint. But when he reached there,he was arrested based on a complaint by DYFI supporters. Clearly,the police are siding with the CPM,” he said.

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