The indefinite halt in the hills had entered its 91st day on Wednesday. Continuously on the fifth day in a row, the police along with the support of the administration, requested the locals to open shops and restore normalcy in the hills.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday had appealed to the Gorkhaland protesters in Darjeeling to withdraw their strike and restore normalcy in the queen of hills. She had also termed Tuesday’s second round of dialogue with the concerned hill parties as “positive and constructive”.
The residents in Kurseong, Darjeeling and Mirik took out peace rallies for the same. A large number of shops re-opened in Darjeeling on Wednesday indicating normalcy, which was missing from the hills for the past three months due to an indefinite strike.
The situation, though tense, remained incident-free, despite fears and intimidation by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which is fronting the movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland. The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) had started an indefinite strike since June 12, demanding a separate state of ‘Gorkhaland’.
Over the past 3 months, the GJM supporters took out rallies in support of a separate Gorkhaland along with the ongoing shutdown and riots in sections of Darjeeling, Sonada and Kalimpong. Expelled GJM leader Binay Tamang on Wednesday questioned GJM supremo Bimal Gurung to return to the hills instead of issuing statements from a hideout.
He quoted, “If he is a leader then he should come back to the hills rather than issuing statements from a secret location like a coward,” A statement had been issued by the GJM after meeting with Rajnath Singh on Friday, which mentioned, that CM Mamata Banerjee had informed them that the Gorkhaland issue was beyond state government’s purview and thus the stakeholders of the GJM were urging Singh to begin the process of tripartite talks.
Gurung on Tuesday had rejected West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s demand to withdraw the shutdown in the hills, insisting that he would continue until the Centre would hold a tripartite meeting on the Gorkhaland issue. Internet services remains suspended in the hills since September 18.