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GJM withdraws indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling after Rajnath's appeal to restore normalcy

27 September 2017

State Tourism Minister Gautam Deb has slammed GJM supremo Bimal Gurung and the Centre.

The indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has been suspended on Wednesday morning.

The GJM had shutdown the hills over its demand for a separate Gorkhaland state, however, after home minister Rajnath Singh's appeal, GJM chief Bimal Gurung made a decision to call off the indefinite stir. "The decision was taken after Union home minister Rajnath Singh's appeal to withdraw the strike", GJM vice-president Kalyan Dewan told a news agency.

The GJM had called the shutdown, which is in its 104th day on Tuesday, demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland. "I am pained immensely by what has happened in the Darjeeling hills", he said.

Pressure was mounting on the leadership to call off the strike as markets, tea gardens, markets and other commercial installations were slowly opening in the hills.

Mr. Singh also said that he had asked Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba to convene an official-level meeting in the Ministry of Home Affairs within a fortnight to discuss all related issues.

"My question is what took the central government so long and that too when the situation in the hills has already normalised", he added.

Banerjee on September 20 had announced the formation of a nine-member board of administrators, headed by ousted Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Binay Tamang, to run the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).

The state administration Monday night chose to lift the restrictions on use of internet services in Darjeeling and Kalimpong, which were imposed on 18 June.

Gurung, against whom cases have been lodged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and a lookout notice has been issued, is absconding since last month.

"Keeping in mind these facts the state administration has chose to lift the restrictions on use of internet in the two hill districts", the ADGP said. Arrows, sharp weapons and explosives were recovered during the raids.

The stir began at the height of tourist season after the West Bengal government angered the Gorkhas by announcing plans to make Bengali the third compulsory language, after English and Hindi, in all state schools.

GJM withdraws indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling after Rajnath's appeal to restore normalcy