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Parishad threat of shutdown

June 19: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has threatened to call a 24-hour strike in the Dooars on June 23 if the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the JMM hold a public meeting in the region that day.

Morcha president Bimal Gurung is slated to address the meeting in at Nagrakata as part of the panchayat election campaign.

The Parishad is opposed the Morcha’s demand of including the Dooars and Terai in the GTA area as well as making the region a part of its Gorkhaland demand.

The Parishad today said it apprehended trouble would follow after the Morcha-JMM meeting. The Parishad has sent letters to the Jalpaiguri district magistrate and the superintendent of police threatening a shutdown.

“We are not concerned that the meeting has been planned as part of the rural polls. Bimal Gurung and his party, and the JMM are in favour of Gorkhaland and the inclusion of the Terai and Dooars in the GTA area,” said Rajesh Lakra, the general secretary of the north Bengal regional unit of the Parishad.

“We apprehend that there could be breach of peace in the Dooars after the meeting and we won’t allow them to hold it. If the administration grants permission for the meeting, we will observe a general strike in the Dooars the same day,” Lakra said.

The Morcha and the JMM have forged an alliance to fight the rural polls. The meeting is scheduled to be held at the European Club ground at Nagrakata. The Morcha and the JMM said they wouldn’t be deterred by the Parishad’s threats.

“The Morcha is an ally of the JMM and we are contesting the polls together. We have every right to hold a public meeting. On June 23, our party president Bimal Gurung will speak at the meeting. There is no doubt that the meeting would be held at the scheduled date and venue. The Parishad is trying to deny us the democratic rights,” said Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri.

He said: “At the meeting, our president will address common voters and elaborate on our candidates’ agenda for development through panchayats once they are elected to respective posts.”

Raju Bara, the general secretary of the north Bengal committee of the JMM, said: “Anybody can organise public meetings ahead of the polls as part of the campaign. The Parishad is apprehensive of receiving a drubbing in the elections and that is why it is raising such an irrational demand.”

“The meeting would be organised in a proper manner with all necessary permission from the administration. We would urge the authorities to maintain law and order and prevent the Parishad from inciting people to trigger tension ahead of the polls.”

Smaraki Mahapatra, the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri said, she hadn’t received any letter from the Parishad. “We have not yet received any such letter. I have no other information on the issue.”

The Jalpaiguri police chief also denied that he had received any communication from the Parishad.