GJM strike for 'Gorkhaland' called off in Darjeeling

GJM strike for 'Gorkhaland' called off in Darjeeling

Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha suspended for an "indefinite period" the 104-day long shutdown from 6 am today after over three months of agitations that cost 11 lives in the hills of Darjeeling.

Gurung's announcement, made from an undisclosed location, had come hours after Union home minister Rajnath Singh issued a statement saying: "Eleven precious lives have been lost so far, several have been injured and the entire people of Darjeeling hills have suffered a lot since the strike".

Reacting to the GJM's decision, West Bengal tourism minister and Trinamool Congress leader Gautam Deb said the central government has provided a face saver to GJM supremo Bimal Gurung.

Following the unrest in the Darjeeling hills, all 45 elected members of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), including its Chief Executive Bimal Gurung, had resigned from the administrative body.

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

Protesters demand the creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland.

The GJM had called for the indefinite shutdown in the hills demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland on June 12.

With the faction led by Tamang entering into talks with the CM, the state government chose to formed a constitutional body comprising of nine-members, and replacing it with the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). Tamang was appointed as its president, and another GJM rebel Amit Thapa as the vice president respectively.

The Bengal government on Monday chose to lift the ban on internet services across the Darjeeling hills.

The local government said it would end a ban on the internet imposed in June now that the strike is over. Shops at Sukhia Pokhri in Darjeeling district also opened as news about the strike being called off spread.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, criticised Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for holding a meeting with GJM leaders against who a lookout notice had been issued.