Gorkhaland, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) did a volte-face on Wednesday and came up with a fresh set of demands.
The GJM leadership has now demanded transfer of the police officials involved in the Panighatta incident of July 10, release of 19 of its supporters currently in jail and an impartial inquiry into alleged police atrocities on their cadres.
On July 10, police had lathicharged GJM supporters participating in a rally in Panighatta. Several persons were injured, followed by the arrest of some supporters of GJM and the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF). While most of the GNLF men had already been released on bail, prime accused Rajen Mukhia, a GNLF leader, was released on Wednesday.
However, 19 GJM supporters are still in jail. “We demand the transfer of police officials involved in the Panighatta incident, including North Bengal IG K L Tamta. Our demand is justified,” reasoned GJM secretary Roshan Giri.
In Kolkata, agitated urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya on Wednesday said GJM must withdraw the bandh considering that talks would be held soon. “I have told the chief minister that accepting the fact that the bandh will continue during the talks means we are buckling under pressure. If the bandh continues, there is no point in holding discussions,” he said. “The chief minister is worried about the issue.” He held that there is no question of a separate state, adding that Subhas Ghisingh was more responsible than Bimal Gurung.
Home secretary Ardhendu Sen said GJM had been requested not to block NH-31A. Sen said GJM had been asked to withdraw their strike, as for the talks in Delhi, a conducive environment is needed. He said GJM leaders will inform about their decision by Thursday.