Bengal crackdown on GJM continues

As life in Darjeeling remained paralysed for the ninth day of the indefinite strike, the crackdown on GJM members by state government continued on Sunday amidst the 72-hour deadline issued by chief minister Mamata Banerjee to withdraw the bandh.

Kalimpong GJM core committee member Shekhar Sharma was arrested on late Saturday night in connection with old cases registered against him. Sources said, Mr Sharma who was absconding was arrested following a tip-off.
GJM on Sunday intensified its stand on separate statehood and called for an all-party meeting on Monday. Simultaneously, GJM also informed that it would impose a “people’s curfew” on August 13 and 14 in an apparent bid to challenge chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s “face strong actions” diktat. On Sunday, GJM leader Raju Pradhan said that the party has called for an all-party meeting at Darjeeling Gymkhana Club at 11 am.
Notably, the police have already arrested GJM Darjeeling town committee president Narayan Pradhan and Gorkha Territorial Administration council member Mahendra Pradhan after the arrest of Anit Thapa, a close associate of GJM chief Bimal Gurung. Earlier, around 200 GJM supporters and activists were arrested since the unrest broke out in the hills, following the decision to create Telangana. However, on Sunday, four more were arrested from Darjeeling. The police have arrested GJM leaders Sumit Deep Rai and Sonam Lama were arrested from Garidhura area of Darjeeling while two GJM supporters Abhishek Gurung and Laowan Gurung were also arrested. Sources said all were taken into custody based on the old cases.
Meanwhile, markets, educational institutes and shops were closed on the ninth day of the indefinite shut down. Supporters of those demanding a separate Gorkhaland took out processions and chanted slogans demanding a separate statehood. However, there were reports that poor people were walking long distances to reach Darjeeling in search of provisions.
In an attempt to reach to the masses and generate a widespread Gorkhaland demand, (GJM) has put up small tents in Darjeeling and was seen distributing small rations to BPL people as all shops have been closed since the beginning of indefinite bandh. According to sources, vehicular traffic on NH-31A which is a lifeline of Sikkim, was also nil.

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