GJM shutdown of government offices begins in Darjeeling

December 8th, 2008 - 8:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Siliguri (West Bengal), Dec 8 (IANS) The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) Monday enforced an indefinite shutdown of government offices in three sub-divisions of Darjeeling district in West Bengal to press its demand for a separate Gorkhaland.”As part of our movement for Gorkhaland, we have started an indefinite government office shutdown in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong sub-divisions of the district since Monday morning. All state government offices will remain closed till our demand is met,” GJM press secretary Binoy Tamang told reporters.

All 50 state government offices in the three sub-divisions remained closed Monday. Services of the North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) were also withdrawn.

However, emergency services of the state government, including the district magistrate’s election cell, were kept out of the purview of the shutdown.

Though central government and municipal offices remained open, they were not operational. National banks and courts functioned normally.

District police superintendent Rahul Srivastava said the first day of the shutdown was peaceful.

“No untoward incident has been reported so far. The first day of the shutdown has been peaceful. The police are keeping a watch on the strike and will function accordingly,” Srivastava said in the evening.

The GJM, led by its president Bimal Gurung, has been spearheading a movement in the hills for a separate state and also opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling.

The central government in 2005 announced the Sixth Schedule status to the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), thereby ensuring greater autonomy to the governing body.

But Gurung’s breakaway group, which is opposed to the GNLF, is demanding full statehood.

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