Gorkhaland activists order closure of Darjeeling offices

November 8th, 2008 - 12:11 am ICT by IANS  

Siliguri (West Bengal), Nov 7 (IANS) In a fresh diktat, the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) fighting for a separate Gorkhaland state Friday ordered the indefinite closure of offices in Darjeeling and said all development work should be stopped in the West Bengal hill resort from Saturday. “All offices of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) should be closed from Saturday. All other development programmes funded by the central government should also be stopped forthwith,” GJM president Bimal Gurung said in Darjeeling.

The GJM, fighting for a new state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of the Darjeeling sub-division - comprising Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong - and adjoining areas, had earlier asked people to use GL (Gorkhaland) numberplates instead of WB (West Bengal) on vehicles and Gorkhaland signboards in offices and commercial establishments in the Darjeeling hills.

But the directives were kept in abeyance following a request from West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi.

Meanwhile, tempers in the hills are set to rise again with the GJM’s students’ arm, Gorkha Janamukti Vidyarthi Morcha, slated to bring out rallies in Darjeeling town against Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League president Madan Tamang. He had accused Gurung of compromising the Gorkhaland movement after secret parleys with the state home secretary. Gurung denied the allegations, and set a Nov 7 deadline for Tamang to prove his charges.

GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said Friday that Tamang should leave politics as he has failed to prove the allegations within the deadline.

“And if the people force him to leave the hills, then we should not be held responsible,” Giri said.

The GJM has been spearheading a movement in the hills demanding a separate state and also opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling.

The central government in 2005 announced the Sixth Schedule status, giving greater autonomy to the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)-led DGHC. But Gurung’s group is opposed to the DGHC and has pitched for statehood.

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