Normal life remained paralysed for the fifth day in the Darjeeling hills on Sunday because of the indefinite bandh called by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) in protest against the police firing on its supporters at Sipchu in the Dooars of north Bengal last week.
With a woman succumbing on Saturday to injuries sustained in the firing, the death toll in the incident has risen to three.
The bandh, however, in the Terai and the Dooars area in the north Bengal plains was lifted.
Meanwhile the GJM leadership has dismissed the draft proposal sent to it by the Centre a few days ago on the alternative administrative arrangement to the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council for the Darjeeling hills.
“The draft proposal sent by the Union government is a non-statement about nothing. If the Centre invites us for further talks, they should be on a permanent solution which will have to include the inclusion of the Gorkha-dominated areas in the Dooars and the Terai in any future discussions,” Harka Bahadur Chettri, senior GJM leader and a member of the party told The Hindu over telephone from Kalimpong sub-division.
“There can be a permanent solution only with the creation of a separate Gorkhaland State. But the option of a Union Territory is still open,” he added.
Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, however, yet again ruled out any division of the State.Speaking on the fresh wave of trouble in the Darjeeling hills, he said that his government has repeatedly been saying that the only way to break the political impasse is through talks and not violence.
“The Trinamool Congress has found a new friend in them (those behind the violence in Darjeeling hills) and that's why it is quiet (on the developments there)”, he added.