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Featured Image: GJM cadres bleed from the back on being flogged with fluorescent tube lights.  

By A Newsman

Siliguri, 27 June: AS announced earlier, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) today burned copies of the tripartite accord that it had inked with the Centre and the state six years ago leading to the formation of semi-autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) in 2012 to govern the Darjeeling Hills.

Coinciding this, at Chowk Bazar in Darjeeling town, GJM youth wing members voluntarily took flogging by fluorescent tube lights on their bare back. As fellow cadres flogged them with tube lights, the GJM youth activists bled from the injuries caused by broken glass shards.  The youth wing had yesterday threatened self-immolation by their cadres to press for Gorkhaland.

This happened on a day the GJM called indefinite shutdown in the Hills to press for a separate state entered the 13th day, with 12-hour break yesterday on the occasion of Eid.

Burning of the tripartite accord copies in all over the Hills and the immediate foothills near Siliguri began around 11 am with thousands of GJM supporters assembling on major thoroughfares to participate in the agitation.

At the central agitation organised at Chowk Bazar, GJM assistant general secretary Binay Tamang burned the first copy, followed by several others burned by the over a thousand activists who assembled there.

Though it was assumed that GJM chief Bimal Gurung would be present in the agitation today, he remained absent probably because of the non-bailable cases that police have slapped against him over the recent violence and arson in Darjeeling.

On burning the accord copy, Tamang announced that this marked the death of GTA, and they would now strive only for a separate Gorkhaland state. He said that not only GJM, no other political parties in the Hills would take part in GTA elections in future even if the state government forced it.

Apart from the Hills, GJM supporters burned copies of the accord at Dagapur, Methibari, and Salbari on the outskirts of Siliguri. Similar, agitations took place at several places in the western Dooars bordering Kalimpong district.

Meanwhile, suspected GJM cadres last night set fire to the house of Rajen Bhetwal, chairman of the Khwas Development Board at Kalimpong. This is because Bhetwal had supported the state government’s initiative to restore peace in the Hills.

State tourism minister Gautam Deb has termed the burning of GTA accord as “undemocratic and unconstitutional” and said that this would bring no good to the Hills. Speaking to newsmen in Siliguri, he said that 108 Trinamool supporters have so far taken shelter in Siliguri due to GJM atrocities.