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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Gorkha unity in troubled waters as GJM calls bandh

Amitava Banerjee , Hindustan Times  Darjeeling, August 23, 2013
First Published: 11:20 IST(23/8/2013) | Last Updated: 14:25 IST(23/8/2013)

The newly constituted Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee (GJAC) is already in troubled waters.

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This pro Gorkhaland conglomeration, faced a split when one of its constituents, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) unilaterally announced an indefinite bandh.

Incidentally, the GJAC (a conglomeration of 8 pro Gorkhaland outfits including the GJM) had been given the task of spearheading the Gorkhaland agitation, the programmes for which would be decided by a consensus.

Accordingly, the GJAC had announced a series of programmes including a “Janta Sadak Ma” (public on the streets rallying for Gorkhaland in a bandh-like situation) programme from August 20-23.

However, with the cyclone striking Darjeeling town the programme was suspended on August 20-21. GJM then announced that the programme would continue on August 22-23 under its banner.

In a sudden move on Thursday, GJM president Bimal Gurung announced that the bandh would continue indefinitely and there would be no relaxation on August 24-25.

“We were taken by surprise and were shocked by this announcement. It was not a decision by consensus but taken unilaterally,” said GJAC chairman Enos Das Pradhan.

When questioned about the fate of the conglomeration, Pradhan said he was in touch with the other constituents and the GJAC would make its stand clear on Friday.

The GJAC comprises nine constituent outfits.

The GJAC has also become the focal point of a war of words between North Bengal development minister Goutam Deb and CPI(M) leader and former municipal affairs minister Asok Bhattacharya.

“Bhattacharya is in constant touch with the GJAC. Bhattacharya and the CPI(M) is trying to divide the state with the help of GJAC,” said Deb. Bhattacharya has denied the charge.

“When we were in power and even now we have a strong stand against the separate state. However, the TMC seems to be adopting a dual stand. Earlier when they were in opposition, they did not utter anything against Gurung and the Gorkhaland demand,” he said.

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