Hills tense over GJM’s new diktat

Kolkata, October 15 The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha’s (GJM) programme to change signboards at government offices and public utilities from “Government of West Bengal” to “Gorkhaland” from October 17 has generated fresh tension in the Hills.

According to GJM leaders, the people, including government officials, will voluntarily accept the transition. The district administration, however, is keeping a silent watch over the prevailing situation.

State Home Secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti, at a meeting on Monday in Siliguri, advised the administration against any crackdown should the GJM activists attempt to change or deface government signboards.

Darjeeling District Magistrate Surendra Gupta maintained if government servants were to participate in this, it would be much easier to penalise them than the GJM activists.

“It will make my job easier because as government employees, they will have no excuse. The home secretary has made it clear that changing signboards to Gorkhaland is totally illegal,” Gupta said.

GJM Secretary Roshan Giri, however, said: “Most officials in the district administration support us. Our party members will not change the signboards. We have asked the officials to do it in their respective offices. This also extends to offices of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council and commercial establishments such as hotels and shops.”

On Wednesday, the home secretary told mediapersons in Kolkata that the state government does not want to take police action against the GJM’s “non-cooperation movement” in order to maintain a favourable atmosphere for the next round of tripartite talks scheduled for November in Delhi.

“The government is worried about the situation in the Hills,” Chakrabarti said. A counter movement is brewing in the foothills of Darjeeling in favour of the Sixth Schedule by the Adivasi Vikas Parishad, he added.

Roshan Giri of GJM, however, refuted AVP’s stand, saying the CPM was instigating a section of the Dooars-based tribals against the GJM. “Our movement aims at showing that we are different from West Bengal, and we’re sure it won’t hamper the ongoing talks,” he said. (Expressindia)

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