GJM rules out interim council, situation returning to normal

Darjeeling/Kolkata, Feb 10 (PTI) The GJM today said itwill not sit for talks unless Gorkhaland issue is discussedand ruled out an interim council for Darjeeling even as thesituation in the hills remained largely peaceful on the secondday of the party''s indefinite bandh to protest Tuesday''spolice firing on its supporters.

In a reaction to yesterday''s appeal by Chief MinisterBuddhadeb Bhattacharjee to sit for negotiations, GJM generalsecretary Roshan Giri said Gorkhaland was the commonaspiration of people in the Darjeeling hills and therefore thetalks should centre only around that demand.

The state government, on the other hand, said it wouldparticipate in fresh tripartite talks if they were called.

West Bengal Home Secretary G D Gautama told reportersin Kolkata that the state government was prepared for talksand was not considering a CBI investigation into lastTuesday''s police firing at Sipchu in Jalpaiguri district inwhich two alleged GJM supporters were killed.

"A magistrate-level inquiry into the police firing ison. The report will be submitted to the state government andthere is no need to order a CBI or CID investigation now," hesaid.

Giri reiterated the demand for a CBI inquiry toestablish the motive for the police firing and dismissedBhattacharjee''s allegation of starting the violence, claimingthey were only conducting the movement in a Gandhian way.

Special IGP (Darjeeling) N Ramesh Babu told PTI thatFIRs had been filed against senior GJM leaders - HarkabhadurChetri, Kalyan Dewan, Binay Tamang (assistant secretary ofGJM), Norden Lama and others for instigating mob violence.

On the second day of the GJM''s indefinite bandh calledto protest against the firing at Sipchu, normal life wasparalysed in Darjeeling but no untoward incident was reported.

Shops, business establishments, schools andeducational institutions were closed, vehicles were off roadsand government offices recorded no attendance, officialsources said.

Shop-owners downed shutters and the area looked likeany bandh day, Darjeeling District Magistrate PMK Gandhi said.

However, in trouble-torn Jalpaiguri district, GJMsupporters set ablaze a truck at Madarihat prompting a team ofpolicemen to rush there, but nobody was arrested.

The BSF personnel conducted flag marches at Kalimpongsub-division, the DM said adding the sub-divisional officershad been asked to prepare a report of the loss of publicproperty in the GJM violence after the Sipchu police firing.

In an apparent backlash to Tuesday''s violence, localpeople at Malbazar in Jalpaiguri damaged a car belonging tothe convoy of GJM activists who carried the body of asupporter killed in the firing to his home in Rangamati.

Police said the people raised anti-Gorkhaland slogans.

Darjeeling SP D P Singh said the situation was fastreturning to normal in the Hills.

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