Joint Action Committee of 26 organisations call for shutdown in Jalpaiguri

   Apr 22, 12:58 pm

Jalpaiguri, Apr 22 (ANI): The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of 26 organisations have called for a shutdown in Terai and Dooars region of West Bengal on Sunday to protest the proposed inclusion of 359 areas from the region to the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA).

All shops and industrial units remained closed in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri town, as the JAC called for a 12-hour shutdown bringing life to a stand still in the region.

However, on the other hand, the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), which has been demanding for a separate state for the Gorkhas, has called a meeting demanding inclusion of the 359 areas under the GTA.

Security has been beefed up here with police personnel being on high alert to avoid any kind of violence.

President, Progressive Peoples Party (PPP) and Convener of Terai Dooars Joint Action Committee, Kiran Kumar Kalandi, said the natives of Terai and Dooars region never want to be a part of the Gorkhaland and the shutdown was to protest against the forced inclusion.

"We have called for today's shutdown to protest against the forced inclusion of Terai and Dooars region in the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA). This is an act of taking away the political and basic rights of the natives of these regions," said Kalandi.

"They (Gorkha Janamukti Morcha) have called for a meeting today, but the locals never want to be a part of the Gorkhaland and we will not let this happen ever," he added.

A renewed demand for a separate Gorkhaland region, which would include Darjeeling and some contiguous areas of Jalpaiguri District, created turmoil in the past few months.

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), the regional outfit was rued at the impasse over the inclusion of their areas in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Bill on the contention that the West Bengal government has not yet endeavoured to resolve the issue amicably.

Earlier in February, west Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had met GJM leaders to discuss the simmering row over Gorkhaland issue.

The GJM had signed a tripartite treaty with the state government of West Bengal and the central government on the issue of granting semi-autonomous territorial status to the Gorkhaland region.

The Gorkhaland agitation had scorched the hill districts of Bengal for most parts of last year leading to chaos in the region.

The Gorkha population in West Bengal is estimated to be around a million.

The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) is a semi-autonomous administrative body for the Darjeeling Hills in West Bengal. The GTA will replace the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, which was formed in 1988 and administered the Darjeeling hills for 23 years. (ANI)

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