Darjeeling: Most markets were shut and traffic remained minimal today in West Bengal’s Darjeeling hills in support of the 72-hour shutdown for Gorkhaland state called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha or GJM.
According to police, there were stray incidents of violence, including the torching of three vehicles, in the protest led by the GJM.At least 50 people have been arrested for trying to forcibly enforce the shutdown. Schools, markets and government and private offices remained shut.
The shutdown coincides with the Congress-led central government’s reported decision to form a separate state of Telengana by splitting up Andhra Pradesh.The Gorkhaland movement has left many dead over the past two decades besides affecting the region known for its tea, timber and tourism.
The bandh also brings to an end a period of calm in the hills of Darjeeling since the GTA pact was signed two years ago on July 18, 2011 between the GJM, the state and central governments for setting up the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), an autonomous and elected hill council armed with more powers than its predecessor, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council formed in the late 1980s.
The GJM now runs the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration after sweeping its maiden elections held in July 2012. Its chief Bimal Gurung is expected to resign in the next three day