GJM holds out despite Mamata crackdown threat | india | Hindustan Times
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GJM holds out despite Mamata crackdown threat

india Updated: Aug 12, 2013 08:08 IST
HT Correspondents

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Sunday took a conciliatory stand by calling an all-party meeting, to which the ruling Trinamool Congress has been invited, in Darjeeling on Monday.

It has said it will follow the Calcutta high court order, which directed the people should not be harassed. However, the party said the agitation would continue.

The West Bengal government is planning to launch a crackdown in the Darjeeling hills after Tuesday, when its 72-hour ultimatum to the GJM to withdraw the indefinite bandh for a separate state expires.

On Saturday, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had issued a 72-hour deadline to the GJM to lift the bandh.

Apart from imposing restrictions in people's movements in various areas, the police are planning to lift blockades and arrest more GJM leaders. The police have already arrested some GJM activists.

Special armed guards will be posted at government offices, Gorkha Territorial Authority offices and vital installations in and around Darjeeling. More forces could be sent to the hills if needed, home department officials said. The government will escort stranded trucks and vehicles to and from Darjeeling and provide ration to the people through offices.

"We're ready to take action based on the high court's directives. We'll try our best to bring life back to normal in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong and other areas," a senior home department official said. The department has informed the government and Darjeeling police about the plan.

The department said the GJM would not withdraw the bandh and the government would have to resort to tough measures. "Our first task is to open up the roads and lift the blockades. We may also impose Section 144 (restrictions on assembly) in some areas. Our forces are preparing for that. We'll request shopowners to open shops and the government will provide them protection," the official said.

Sikkim CM supports Gorkhaland stir
Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling said on Sunday the demand for Gorkhaland was "legitimate" and his government and the people of his state fully backed it.

Addressing about 300 members of the Gorkha Janmukti Vidyarthi Morcha in Gangtok, Chamling said, "The Darjeeling hills people have the right to demand statehood according to the Indian Constitution and my government has already passed a Gorkhaland resolution in the assembly." They reached Gangtok on a long march from Kalimpong in Darjeeling district.

"Mutual respect is the hallmark of the Sikkim-Darjeeling relationship and it must continue. We extend our best wishes to the people of Darjeeling in this movement..."