Darjeeling unrest: Will not allow division of Bengal, says Mamata; GJM to continue indefinite strike

Darjeeling(WB):The GJM and other political outfits in Darjeeling hills today decided to carry on with the indefinite shutdown even as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ruled out any bifurcation of West Bengal.

The hills remained tense, but incident-free on the 15th day of the shutdown with the police and the security forces patrolling the streets and keeping a close vigil on the entry and exit routes.

“We have decided to carry on with the indefinite bandh in the hills,” Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders said after a six-hour-long meeting of the political outfits in Kalimpong. This was the second such meeting in 15 days, with the last having been held on June 20.

“The overwhelming response during the meeting was that the shutdown should carry on. We had a debate on it. But ultimately, it was decided that shutdown will go on in the hills,” the GJM leader said. “We will decide on the next course of action on July 6,” they said.

At a public meeting in Purba Burdwan, Banerjee said, “Bengal cannot be divided. I will not allow it.” Internet services remained suspended in the hills.

Except medicine outlets, all shops, schools and colleges were closed, and transport was off the road. Munish Tamang, the national working president of the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, who attended the meeting, told PTI, “A Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC), with 30 members has been formed with representatives from all the political parties to decide on the next course of action.”

Meanwhile, the West Bengal State Commission for Protection of Child Rights issued a show cause notice to the GJM for using children in their protest rallies.

“We have issued a show cause notice to the GJM for using children in their political rallies. This is a complete violation of child rights,” the panel’s chairman Ananya Chakraborti said.