There was a shutdown in West Bengal's Darjeeling hills on Thursday with the four-day bandh called by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leadership seeking a clarification from the Centre on its stand regarding its demand for a separate Gorkhaland State entering its second day.The bandh which has also been called in the Gorkha-dominated areas of the Dooars in North Bengal where about 300 GJM supporters were detained for obstructing vehicular movement on national highway was, however, relaxed for a day on Friday in view of a festival organised by a local committee to promote tourism in the region.
“The bandh will continue in the hills but has been relaxed for a day in the Dooars area because of the ‘Dooars festival' there on Friday”, Roshan Giri, GJM general secretary told The Hindu over telephone from Darjeeling. “The bandh was total and spontaneous in the Darjeeling hills and evoked substantial response in the Dooars area even though the police arrested our supporters there”, he claimed.
Activists of the GJM demonstrated outside the thanas in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong protesting against the arrests.There was no major untoward incident in the Darjeeling hills, district superintendent of police, D. P. Singh said. The police removed road blocks put up by bandh supporters at certain places along the stretch of the NH 31 A to Sikkim that passes through the Darjeeling hills.