Darjeeling: separatists call of the strike after 104 days

Story By: Rajesh Sharma
Thursday, September, 28 2017 - 16:19

The separatists on Tuesday night have called off a 100-day strike in Darjeeling region after an appeal from the home minister Rajnath Singh to the GJM and its leader Bimal Gurung to withdraw the ongoing bandh and to help create a conductive atmosphere for allowing normalcy to return to the area". 

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha suspended for an "indefinite period" the 104-day long shutdown from 6 am Wednesday after over three months of agitations that left eleven people killed and more than 100 others, including 30 policemen, injured.

The strike paralysed the estates that produce the famous Darjeeling tea and affected the tourism industry. The strike was provoked by a West Bengal government’s decision to introduce Bengali as a compulsory subject in schools across the state.

A local party Gorkha Janmukti Morch (GJM) demanded a separate state for the area's majority Nepali-speaking Gorkha community.

"We are not Bengalis, Bengali is not our mother tongue, almost everyone in Darjeeling hills speaks Nepali, so why should we be forced to learn Bengali in schools?" asked Bimal Gurung, the chairperson of the GJM.

Bimal Gurung, who was recognised as the leader of the hill parties in the Home Minister's statement, has been charged under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act or UAPA and has been in hiding.


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