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GJM to formulate alternative strategies for Gorkhaland demand: Tamang

IANS | Jalpaiguri |

Ousted Gorkha Janamukti Morcha leader Binay Tamang on Thursday asserted that the fight for Gorkhaland state would continue but appealed for withdrawal of the three-month-old shutdown as it was impeding the flow of life in the northern West Bengal hills.

Tamang said they would formulate alternative strategies to put pressure on the Centre and the state government to fulfil their demand.

“Our agitation for separate Gorkhaland will go on. We will formulate strategies to put pressure on the Centre and state government. But the common people in the hills are facing a lot of harassment due to the shutdown,” Tamang said outside Siliguri Special Correctional Home here after meeting GJM leaders and activists, who were put behind bars during the ongoing agitation.

“The common people here are under a lot of stress. The festive season is coming. I have already appealed to the people to withdraw the shutdown after the second phase of meeting on September 12,” he said.

He, however, refused to disclose if there was any pressure from the government to withdraw the ongoing shutdown.

Tamang said they would stick to the demand of immediate release of all party activists and supporters who have been placed in judicial custody in the last three months of the current agitation and would take legal steps, if needed.

“During the first phase of the all-party meeting in Kolkata, we demanded immediate release of all the 119 GJM leaders and activists. This was discussed at length even in the second phase of meeting here. We will take up the necessary legal procedure to ensure their release,” he said.

Taking an obvious dig at GJM chief Bimal Gurung who is in hiding for more than two months after a police raid at his house and General Secretary Roshan Giri, Tamang claimed that he was the only one leading the movement from among the people.

Referring to the shops and schools that have reopened in the hills in the last two days, Tamang said normalcy was being resorted, but they would still have to take confidence-building measures among the locals who were threatened and intimidated by a section of the party leadership.

GJM chief Bimal Gurung expelled Tamang from the party earlier this month after he announced the temporary withdrawal of the shutdown for 12 days. The party leadership also accused him to conspiring with the state government to derail the Gorkhaland movement.

Tamang, on the other hand, refuted the charges and claimed that he is still part of GJM as he was neither issued a show-cause notice nor given a termination letter from the party’s central committee.