Life came to a standstill in the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling district today due to the 96-hour shut down by Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) demanding a separate state.
Darjeeling magistrate Surendra Gupta told PTI that the shut down began at 6 am and also affected a part of Siliguri sub-division at Salbari and Sukna area in the foot-hills.
All offices, educational institutions, banks, shops and markets remained closed and vehicles kept off the roads.
National highway 31A, the arterial road link between Sikkim and Siliguri was, however, open, he said.
GJM press and publicity secretary Benoy Tamang claimed the shut down was spontaneous and supported by the people.
GJM was allowing Sikkim-bound vehicles carrying food items and medicine to ply along NH 31A which passes through Kalimpong sub-division.
In line with its assurance to tourists, the Morcha had arranged three pairs of buses to and fro Siliguri, the entry point of the mountains in the east, and Gangtok, he said.
Gantok police, however, said the traffic between Sikkim and rest of the country is hit due to blockade of NH 31A by GJM and only army vehicles and those of other emergency services are plying on it.
Tamang said the indefinite hunger strike by GJM at five places, which entered the fourth day today, would continue though the condition of two of them have become critical.
The two had refused medical aid, he said.
On December 18, 150 more GJM supporters would join the fast and students would do so the next day, he said.
The GJM members are on fast in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Kalchini in Dooars and Pintal village on the outskirts of Siliguri.
Police are keeping a vigil on the situation and “there is no immediate law and order problem,” Inspector General of Police (North Bengal) K L Tamta said.