Kolkata/Darjeeling: West Bengal government and the GJM seemed on a confrontation course on Saturday with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee giving a 72-hour ultimatum to end the separatist movement or “face strong action” while the Gorkha outfit hit back with threats of a “bloodbath”.
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung demanded Banerjee withdraw her ultimatum, and warned of “bloodshed” and a “people’s curfew” if she stuck to her stand, even as life remained stalled in the three hill sub-divisions – Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong – of Darjeeling district for eight days due to the shutdown called to press for a Gorkhaland state.
“I give them 72 hours to withdraw their shutdown. We have tolerated for eight days enough is enough. I cannot tolerate the whole state suffering for the political interests of a few,” Banerjee told media persons in Kolkata.
“If they do not withdraw the shutdown, we will be compelled to take strong action… when required we have to take strong medicines,” she said citing a Calcutta High Court directive seeking prevention of forcible shutdown.
In a veiled warning to the top GJM leadership, she said anybody trying to obstruct the state’s development, will face the music, and accused the party of using money to keep alive its agitation.
She said her government was open for dialogues with the GJM provided it withdrew the shutdown first.
With Gurung having resigned as the chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) – an autonomous and elected hill development council – Banerjee said the “next man” will be asked to take over.
Soon after, Gurung went hammer and tongs at Banerjee.
“We have heard that Mamata has given a 72-hour ultimatum and will use police to withdraw the shutdown. This is not right. Lakhs and lakhs of people will hit the streets. If she wants to pursue her politics by killing people, then we are ready,” he said in Darjeeling. (IANS)