With supplies drying up and the indefinite strike in the Darjeeling hills entering its 27th day today, all eyes are set on the all-party meeting scheduled to be held today in Mirik area of the hills. The all-party meeting, convened by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, will be attended by all political parties of the hills. The meeting was scheduled to be held on July 18 but was advanced to July 11 following the violence in the hills on Saturday last. Many hill parties are in favour of relaxing the shutdown for few days as the supplies of food and essentials have dried up due to the indefinite strike, Jan Andolan Party (JAP) sources said. A section of hill parties want the GJM to sit for the tripartite talks. This is the fourth such meeting in 27 days.
The first, second and the third all-party meetings were held on June 20, June 29 and July 6 respectively. The GJM took out huge rally in Mirik demanding Gorkhaland. Incidentally, GJM had lost Mirik municipality to TMC in the last municipal polls held in May. Police and security forces patrolled the streets and kept a vigil on the entry and exit routes. While Internet services remained snapped for the last 24 days, all shops barring pharmacies, schools and colleges remained closed. An Army column, comprising around 50 personnel, was deployed in Kalimpong last night, defence sources had said. Two columns of the Army have already been positioned in Darjeeling and Sonada on Saturday after large-scale violence and arson took place there.