Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) started indefinite strike for demanding a separate state of ‘Gorkhaland’ and against the alleged imposition of Bengali language in schools.
“We will go on strike from Monday. Bengal government takes so much revenue from us but it only encroach our territory. We want our Gorkhaland and will not negotiate on this matter. We will not do any violence,” Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung said.
Paramilitary troops were patrolling the streets of Darjeeling on Monday morning to prevent any untoward incident during an indefinite shut down of the city called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).
The state government order also made it mandatory for government employees to attend work.
“In view of the call given by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha for indefinite bandh/strike on and from 12 June, 2017, it has been decided that all state government offices situated in the District of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, including those provided with grants-in-aid by the state government, would remain open and all the employees of those offices should report for duty on each day till the call for such bandh is not withdrawn. It has also been decided that no leave shall be granted to any employee on any of these bandh days,” said a state government release.
State Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi also announced that absence of employees from work would be treated as ‘dies none’, and will constitute a break in service.
The state government said that no salary will be given to absentee employees unless they were in an emergency like hospitalisation or death in the family, among other things.
The panchayat officer’s chamber was gutted at Bijanbari village, about 35 km from Darjeeling. So far, ten GJM activists have been arrested, and flag marches by the army have been withdrawn.
Meanwhile, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said that an all party meeting has been called on June 13 to discuss the matter.
“Offices of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, Bengal government and Central Government will be closed from Monday. Court will be open. Banks will be open on Monday and Thursday. School and colleges have been exempted from bandh. We appealed to put all sign boards in Darjeeling, Kerseong, Kalimpong, Mirik and other places in Nepali and English,” Giri said.
“We have also written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh apprising him as to how West Bengal suppresses us,” he added.
On Saturday, Gurung asked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee not to do or promote ‘divisive’ politics in the state.
“I request Mamata Banerjee that she is a chief minister and she must not do divisive politics. Her dictatorial politics will find a place in the Guinness book soon,” Gurung said.
He assured that the GJM will talk to the Centre as the state government is trying to suppress Gorkhaland for her own political interest.
“We will talk to the Centre and will send a letter to Prime Minister and Home Minister as well regarding all the atrocities. The state government is doing to suppress Gorkhaland for her own political interest,” he said.
The GJM president Gurung has earlier advised the stuck tourists to leave the hills because of the possibility of “untoward” incidents.