Gorkha shutdown cripples life in Darjeeling hills

February 21st, 2008 - 12:05 am ICT by admin  


Kolkata, Feb 20 (IANS) An indefinite shutdown called by Gorkha Janamukti Morcha, which is demanding statehood for Darjeeling, (GJM), crippled life in the three sub-divisions of the district in West Bengal Wednesday. All shops, markets and business establishments were closed in the three sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong.

GJM supporters want complete statehood for Darjeeling in north Bengal instead of a Sixth sSchedule status that has granted greater autonomy for the region since 2005.

Official sources said government offices, banks and post offices remained closed.

GJM activists, however, allowed students appearing for secondary board examinations to reach their centres. Sikkim-bound vehicles also were not disrupted, the police said.

Earlier, the GJM launched an economic blockade and started a fast-unto-death programme in the hills.

GJM activists also demanded the dismissal of rival hill leader Subhas Ghising of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) as the sole administrator of the caretaker Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).

GJM chief Bimal Gurung, who was expelled from the GNLF for “anti-party” activity, is spearheading the movement in the hills to demand a separate state and scrapping of the sixth schedule status for Darjeeling.

The central government in 2005 announced sixth schedule status to the GNLF-led DGHC that ensures greater autonomy to the governing body.

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