After Rajnath's plea, GJM suspends indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling

After Rajnath's plea, GJM suspends indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling

Following the unrest in the Darjeeling hills, all 45 elected members of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), including its Chief Executive Bimal Gurung, had resigned from the administrative body. "The decision was taken after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh's appeal to withdraw the strike", GJM vice-president Kalyan Dewan told PTI.

Pressure had in fact been mounting on the GJM leadership to call off the strike as markets, tea gardens, markets and other commercial installations were slowly opening in the hills. Gorkhaland supporters have been demanding that the Centre should immediately start discussions.

State Tourism Minister Goutam Deb termed Gurung's decision a "face-saving move in collusion with the BJP".

Nearly 100 days after a near- total shutdown in Darjeeling hills demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung on Tuesday announced withdrawal of the bandh.

"I have asked the home secretary to convene an official level meeting in the home ministry within a fortnight to discuss all related issues".

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"Home Minister Rajnath Singh had earlier today said in a statement that in a democracy, dialogue is the only way out to resolve any problem and solutions can be found through restraint and mutual dialogue within the legal ambit".

The indefinite shutdown by the GJM for a separate state of Gorkhaland began on June 15, and ended after 104 days. Tamang, who leads the moderate faction in the Morcha, was made the chairman of the board of administrators.

Cases had been lodged against Gurung under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and a lookout notice had been issued.

On September 25, in view of normalcy returning to Darjeeling hills, the state administration had chose to lift the restrictions on use of internet services in Darjeeling and Kalimpong, which was imposed on June 18.

Before the centre's appeal came, Bimal Gurung had lashed out at Tamang for playing into the hands of the state government. Arrows, sharp weapons and explosives were recovered during the raids. In an audio clip from an undisclosed location reported by news agencies, Morcha chief Bimal Gurung urged hill residents to resume transport services, reopen shops and schools and colleges.