Normal life was paralysed in the Darjeeling Hills as the indefinite agitation for a separate state of Gorkhaland entered the sixth day on Monday even as 53 GJM members were taken into custody.

While 27 were arrested in connection with old cases, the remaining were preventive arrests. With the fresh arrests, the total number of those taken into custody has risen to 808, police said.

The West Bengal government was also distributing rice and flour at 11 outlets in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong subdivisions, officials said.

A total of 15 quintal of rice and 5 quintal of flour had reached the outlets last night.

The indefinite stir and shut down in the hills have forced closure of markets and shops.

Meanwhile, GJM President Bimal Gurung has urged school students to take out rallies in Darjeeling for five days from August 27 demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland, though other constituents of the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee have decided in principle to keep schools and colleges out of the ambit of the current agitation.

Gurung, in an appeal to parents of school children aged between 12 and 18 years, urged them to allow their wards to take part in rallies.

Schools in the hills have been closed mostly since July 29, when the agitation began. Gurung also urged children to raise the statehood issue on social media.

Meanwhile, GJM General Secretary, Roshan Giri said his party would not attend the meeting of the hill council, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration on September four till all 800 party members were released.

The GTA meeting has been called by the administration to select a successor to Bimal Gurung, who had resigned from the CEO’s post on July 31.

Giri had earlier said that the GJM would take part in the GTA meeting if the 11 arrested GTA members were released.

Asked about school children participating in the stir from tomorrow, he said that they would do so “willingly”.

Meanwhile, GJM General Secretary, Roshan Giri said his party would not attend the meeting of the hill council, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration on September four till all 800 party members were released

The GTA meeting has been called by the administration to select a successor to Bimal Gurung, who had resigned from the CEO’s post on July 31.

Mr. Giri had earlier said that the GJM would take part in the GTA meeting if the 11 arrested GTA members were released.

Asked about school children participating in the stir from tomorrow, he said that they would do so “willingly”.