Darjeeling, September 13, 2017: While it is "Janta curfew" by Bimal Gurung, it is "Lift the bandh" by Binay Tamang. Caught in between Darjeeling and Kalimpong grappled to return to normality, the day after the bipartite meeting had ended on an equally confusing note.
In an appeal to the masses GJM rebel leader Binay Tamang stated "The bandh has to be lifted. A section of the public, the hardliners do not want the bandh lifted but 99% want. Out of fear the bandh is not being lifted. I appeal to all to discard fear and come out and open up shops. If required I will come out with my supporters and lift the bandh. Threats will not work anymore."
Tamang stated that earlier when he had asked the public to open up from September 1 to September 12, many were eager to follow. "Immediately threats were issued to the business community, Managers and drivers, that if they opened up their shops and vehicles would be torched" alleged Tamang.
Tea gardens, schools have to open, employees need to attend office feels Tamang.
"We will continue with the Gorkhaland movement but there has to be a well planned and specific programme. At present the bandh is creating more pressure on us than the government. For how long will we continue listening to threats in the form of audio clips. Double standard statements are actually creating confusion among the masses" added Tamang.
GJM President Bimal Gurung in a recent audio clip claimed that he had not called the bandh and that the bandh was called by Tamang. He further claimed that the bandh was creating immense problem to education, tea gardens and the economy as a whole.
The same Gurung then issued a diktat that the bandh will not be lifted until tripartite talks between the Centre, State and the agitators on Gorkhaland commences. He further stated that as the police has halted the daily rallies, Gurung would soon announce the "Janta Curfew" programme, whereby people will be asked to stay indoors thereby enforcing the bandh indirectly.
"Bimal Gurung opposed my appeal to open up the bandh from September 1 to September 12" added Tamang.
Tamang lay stress on the need to open up tea gardens immediately. "Tea gardens are the worst affected. The Management should pay the workers their salary and give them some money in the form of bonus before Dusserah. This will provide some relief to the workers," added Tamang.
Tamang has also chalked out plans to visit Delhi before the festival of Dussehra. In Delhi he wants to feel the pulse of the Government and the MPs of different political outfits on the Gorkhaland demand.
The ongoing indefinite bandh hit the 91 day mark on Wednesday. The North Bengal State Transport Corporation plied two buses from Siliguri to Darjeeling and back via Kurseong. NBSTC buses also plied between Siliguri and Mirik, Kalimpong. The buses were escorted by the security forces. Certain banks opened up in the Hills. There was hardly any transactions owing to the halt on the net.
Many Government and Government aided schools have started functioning with teachers being asked to join immediately or face dies non.
Some shops also opened up shutters while vegetables, fish, meat were sold by roadside vendors.