Sunday, 22 April, 2018

Mamata leaves for The Netherlands even as Darjeeling stir continues

Theresa Hayes | 20 June, 2017, 02:02

The indefinite strike called by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in Darjeeling, West Bengal, demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland, entered its eighth day affecting railway and internet services. An Indefinite strike was announced by GJM from Monday covering Darjeeling, Kalimpong districts and Doosra protesting against the West Bengal governments' decision to make Bengali language compulsory in state-run schools.

The GJM agitators on Monday blocked NH-31A at some places in Darjeeling district to protest the death of three their activists on Saturday. Protesters shouted anti-state government slogans and carried black flags during their protest in Chowkbazaar.

Darjeeling, meanwhile, remained in shutdown mode for the seventh consecutive day on Sunday as thousands of supporters took to the streets to mark their protest against alleged police killing of two GJM supporters.

"In democracy like India resorting to violence would never help in finding a solution. We had expected something positive from the Central government", Darjeeling MLA and senior GJM leader Amar Singh Rai said.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which is in power in the semi-autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, is spearheading the agitation there demanding a separate state - Gorkhaland. According to police sources, the step was taken to stop the GJM activists from using social media to spread "messages and provocative posts".

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday appealed to the residents of Darjeeling to remain calm and urged them not to resort to violence. "Every issue can be resolved through mutual dialogue", Rajnath further said. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had tagged the statehood activists as hooligans before agreeing to talks.

"Appealing for peace, the Union Minister tweeted:" I appeal to the people living in Darjeeling and nearby areas to remain calm and peaceful.

Echoing similar views, another Congress Party leader P. L. Punia said that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee should be present in the state instead of going to Netherlands.

Except medicine shops, all others shops and hotels were closed in Darjeeling.