GJM’s Bandh Hits Darjeeling
The hills of Darjeeling were marred by violence on 8 June after the influential Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) called for a 12-hour bandh for the revival of Gorkhaland agitation.
The region is likely to face fresh confrontation between the GJM and Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government with the former calling for an indefinite shutdown from Monday.
GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri said that all Central and State government offices – including block development offices, sub-divisional offices and district magistrate offices, banks, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (the hill development body) offices – will be closed as part of the shutdown.
The Trinamool Congress government, on its part, ordered all its employees and those of the institutions receiving grants-in-aid from it to attend office on all days till the agitation continues, warning that absence from duty will be considered a break in service.
“Any absence will be considered as a break in service and no salary will be admissible unless covered by reasonable grounds,” the notification said.
The hostility was triggered by West Bengal government’s decision to make Bengali compulsory in schools till Class X.
The call was followed by a clash between the GJM supporters and police after they were barred from marching to the Raj Bhawan where the state cabinet meeting was underway. Police and government vehicles were gutted while shops, eateries and markets remained closed.
Darjeeling’s superintendent of police, inspectors in-charge of Kalimpong and Kurseong were also shifted from their posts after the violence.
No violence was reported on Sunday.
GJM chief Bimal Gurung had also projected himself as the “chief minister of the hills” and challenged Mamata Banerjee to stop the agitation in the area.
Banerjee termed the agitation “illegal” and said, “The government was soft and had given them all kind of support. But now, the government will be very tough after what happened… Police will do their work and law will take its own course. Nobody is above law.”
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)