GJM expels seven party activists for indiscipline

June 25th, 2008 - 10:47 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Shivraj Patil

Siliguri (West Bengal), June 25 (IANS) Faced with cadre discontent over its imposition of back-to-back shutdowns with only periodic relaxations in West Bengal’s Darjeeling Hills, the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) Wednesday expelled seven party workers for indiscipline and threatened further action for “anti-party activities”.

“We have expelled seven of our activists. Those thrown out of the party include the vice-president and the secretary of a village committee in Darjeeling,” GJM press and publicity secretary Benoy Tamang told reporters here.

The GJM cracked the whip after a section of party activists put up posters and staged noisy demonstration in Darjeeling town Tuesday, soon after GJM chief Bimal Gurung announced withdrawal of the indefinite shutdown in the three hill sub-divisions till July 5.

The dissenting group alleged that the GJM central leadership’s “random decisions” to call for indefinite shutdowns and then announce sudden relaxations were only causing “harassment” to the people of the hills.

Tamang said the GJM, fighting for carving out a separate Gorkhaland state in Darjeeling district, would not tolerate any activity that could weaken the movement.

“We will take more such actions if anybody indulges in indisciplinary activities,” he said.

The GJM June 10 called an indefinite shutdown in the hills, but gave a 60-hour relaxation the next day to enable thousands of stranded tourists to reach the plains.

Later, the party again deferred the agitation by two days and the shutdown resumed at 6 p.m. June 16.

The party announced a 60-hour relaxation at 4 p.m. Sunday, before deciding Tuesday to keep the shutdown in abeyance till July 5, citing “positive” talks between its delegation in Delhi and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil.

With the Gorkhaland demand triggering violence in the Darjeeling Hills, Siliguri and the Dooars in the past few days, tea and tourism - the bread and butter of the region - have been severely hit.

The GJM has been leading the movement in the hills for a separate state, besides opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling district that ensures greater autonomy to the hill governing body, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.

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