Darjeeling: Normal life paralysed; GJM-sponsored all-party meet today

Local sources reveal that all markets and shops are closed except for those carrying out emergency services. The rally was preceded by a silent march of the civilians on Sunday morning, demanding peace to be restored in the hills.

The Centre sent 125 security personnel to Darjeeling on Tuesday after the West Bengal government submitted a detailed report on the ongoing violence in the town, reported The Indian Express. But with the state, the condition would be that they withdraw all forces and allow normalcy to return as a confidence building measure. Jana Andalon Party president Harka Bahadur Chettri, who did not participate in the last meeting, was one of the invitees of today's meeting after he joined the movement for statehood four days back.

Bimal Shashanker, a farmer, was killed while he was with other GJM activists during a protest on Saturday, said Ramesh, a relative of Bimal.

The tripartite agreement paving the way for the setting up of the GTA, an elected body for the Darjeeling hills, was signed in 2011.

The GTA administers Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik, some areas of Siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling district and the whole of Kalimpong district.

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"The joint forum decided that all elected members will pull out of the GTA", said GJM central committee member P Arjun. The agitators, who are mainly from the GJM, are demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of West Bengal.

Talking tough on the West Bengal chief minister, Tamang said that GJM's "chapter with Banerjee is over". He also denied that the BJP manifesto espouses a separate state, stating that they only pledged support for the solution of "Gorkhas' problems", which he said can also include development. Both union home minister Rajnath Singh and home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi have spoken to the state administration over the issue. A state police official said, "Raids will continue. All repressive forces should be withdrawn from the hills", Mr. Arjun said.

"Internet services in the hills should be restored", he demanded.

He further appealed to the people to help maintain peace in the conflict-hit region.

Dozens gathered at Bengaluru's Town Hall to protests against the "discriminatory" actions of West Bengal government and forceful imposition of Bengali language on the people of the hill.


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