Gorka Janmukti Morcha calls for 72-hour Strike in reaction to Telangana
Gorka Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung addressing a party gathering at Kalimpong announced the 72-hour bandh in the Darjeeling hills from July 29.
Mr Gurung asked the people in the hills to get ready for a prolonged agitation in the hills for Gorkhaland. He also asked the people in the hills to stock up foodgrains and other essential items to face more bandhs in future for the Gorkhaland agitation.
"We have given a call for the shutdown to press home our demand for Gorkhaland," GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told IANS over the phone.
"We have been told that the central government is going to concede the demand to carve out a Telengana state out of Andhra Pradesh. When they are ready to form Telengana, why wouldn't they give us Gorkhaland?" Giri asked.
The long-standing agitation for forming a separate state out of the northern West Bengal hills has led to loss of many lives over the past two decades, besides hitting hard the region's economic mainstays of tea, timber and tourism.
On July 18, 2011, a tripartite agreement was signed between the GJM, and the state and central governments for setting up Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), an autonomous and elected hill council armed with more powers than its predecessor - the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council formed in the late 1980s.
The GJM now runs the GTA after sweeping its maiden elections last July.
However, Giri said the GTA accord mentions that the GJM was signing the pact without dropping the Gorkhaland demand.
"We never dropped the demand for Gorkhalnd. And it is clearly spelt out in the GTA treaty," he said.