Darjeeling Unrest: Eyes Are Set On All Party Meet

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Darjeeling: As the indefinite shutdown in the Darjeeling hills entered it 90th Day,all eyes are set on the all Party meeting.Amid infighting within the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) over temporary withdrawal of indefinite shutdown, the second round of all-party meeting on the Darjeeling issue will be held on Tuesday.

The meeting will be held in the north Bengal branch of state Secretariat, Uttarkanya.
The north Bengal hills have been on the boil for about three months after the GJM revived its demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

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Normal life has been paralysed since June 12 due to the indefinite shutdown, called by the GJM, severely impacting the region’s economy based on tea, tourism and timbre.
Though the situation is limping back to normalcy in some areas of the hills  mainly in Kurseong and Kalimpong  as schools and many branches of public sector banks opened. Local transport services have also started.

However, confusion over the GJM’s participants in the meeting remains as the West Bengal Police has been in search of party’s chief Bimal Gurung and other key leaders for their alleged role in creating disturbances in the hills.

Meanwhile, in yet another blow to GJM leadership, a district court in West Bengal last week issued an arrest warrant against eight GJM leaders including Gurung. After the first leg of meeting in Kolkata, the principal party in the hills became a “divided house” as a faction of the GJM leadership including Tamang and Anit Thapa had announced withdrawal of shutdown for 12 days.

The top brass of the party rejected the decision, saying the shutdown would continue.
Another key hill party, Gorkhaland National Liberation Front, on Monday said a nine-member delegation led by Maan Ghishing would attend the meeting which will be presided and chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri said although the party had decided to participate in the meeting, it had also urged the Centre to hold a tripartite talk to solve the crisis.

The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) and other hill parties will also participate in today’s meeting. After the first all-party meeting, the differences within the GJM started coming out in the open, leading to the expulsion of Mr Tamang and Mr Thapa from the party.

For the third consecutive day, the police and administration, through a public address system, appealed to the locals to open shops and restore normalcy in the hills. Peace rallies were taken out by the residents in Kurseong, Darjeeling and Mirik.

GJM supporters took out rallies in support of the Gorkhaland demand and the ongoing shutdown in certain parts of Darjeeling, Sonada and Kalimpong. Internet services have remained suspended in the hills since June 18.

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