The Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee (GJAC) appears to be in two minds on whether to keep people indoors or out. Forty-eight hours after announcing a five-day ‘people’s curfew’ from August 19, the GJAC decided to hold street protests from August 20.
With the move, the GJM has deftly bypassed last week’s orders from the Calcutta high court, which had ruled public curfews illegal and threatened to penalise the leaders if strikes occur.
The Gorkhaland leaders, though, had a different reason to cite. “People said remaining indoors for five days would be suffocating, so we have asked them to hit the streets from August 20,” said GJAC chairman Enos Das Pradhan. “The change in programme is being made as the government is suppressing our voices,” added GJM president Bimal Gurung.
The protests, though, would not fall far short of a bandh. Shops, business establishments, educational institutes and offices would remain closed and vehicles won’t ply.
Asked about the apparent defiance of the court order, Pradhan said, “We are not defying it. We have not imposed a bandh. It is a democratic right of an individual to stay indoors or come out on streets shouting slogans.”