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GJM softens stance: No picketing and dharnas

A day after West Bengal Chief Minister set a 72-hour deadline for the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to withdraw its indefinite bandh in Darjeeling

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: August 12, 2013 3:13:51 am

A day after West Bengal Chief Minister set a 72-hour deadline for the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to withdraw its indefinite bandh in Darjeeling,the party,in a marked climbdown,announced to shun all picketing and dharnas from August 13 saying it will only enforce a ‘human curfew’ in which people will be urged to sit at home.

GJM chief Bimal Gurung issued a statement Sunday,the ninth day of the indefinite bandh,saying the decision has been taken in deference to a Calcutta High Court order that banned all general strikes.

“The 72-hour deadline was not set by the West Bengal government,but by the court. The GJM respects the court orders and will comply with it. The Morcha will use no force or picketing in the forthcoming programmes in Darjeeling. There will be no picketing in government offices,schools and colleges,” the GJM statement,signed by Gurung reads.

It said that the Morcha will not use any force or intimidation to interfere with road and rail traffic or free movement of the citizens. “The Morcha will ensure that the public transport,including the state-run vehicles,remain functional in Darjeeling during bandh. All essential services will be exempted,” it added.

However,the release said that “in keeping with the highest democratic traditions”,the GJM supporters will continue to exercise their freedom of expression,speech and right to assemble peacefully without arms to press for their demand for Gorkhaland.

The Morcha reiterated that it will only hold talks with the central government over the statehood demand as only they have the capacity to create Gorkhaland.

“If they could create Telengana,then why not Gorkhaland? Telengana was created without consultation with Andhra Pradesh. Gorkhaland will also be created without consultation with West Bengal,’’ Raju Pradhan,a senior GJM leader,said in Darjeeling.

Meanwhile,the crackdown of the state government on GJM supporters continued as police arrested Kalimpong GJM core committee member Shekhar Sharma,who was absconding,last night in connection with some old cases following a tip-off.

Also,four GJM youth leaders were detained and subsequently arrested Sunday by the the police and CRPF from Kurseong to take the total number of arrests to 172.

The four — Sumit Deep,Suman Lama,Abhishek Gurung,Lawang Gurung — were arrested from Guridhura after they were alleged to have set fire to government property,picketed on highways and threatened people,the police said.

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