The Times of India
IANS, Feb 14, 2011, 01.53pm IST
DARJEELING: Normal life was paralysed in West Bengal’s Darjeeling Hills Monday for the sixth day due to an indefinite shutdown called by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) protesting the death of three party activists in police firing, police said.
“The shutdown was total in three subdivisions – Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong – of the district. All shops and business establishments remained closed. No vehicles plied on the roads,” said Inspector General of Police (north Bengal) Ranvir Kumar.
“The situation in the hills is under control and no untoward incident has been reported so far,” Kumar said over phone.
There is tension in some of the areas and a huge contingent of security personnel has been deployed, he said.
Meanwhile, the GJM central committee met on Monday to discuss their future course of action. Details are awaited.
“But there is no chance for the state government approaching us for talks,” GJM spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri said over phone.
Police opened firing in the Dooars – himalayan foothills in Jalpaiguri district – Feb 8 following a clash with GJM supporters who tried to violate prohibitory orders that banned gathering of five or more people at a time.
The clashes started when illegal camps set up by the GJM in the Shipchu area of a reserve forest were demolished by the police.
Over the past two years, the Bimal Gurung-led GJM has sidelined the GNLF, which since the 1980s spearheaded the movement for a separate Gorkhaland to be carved out of West Bengal.
The GJM has called several indefinite shutdowns in the hills between 2008 and 2010, severely hitting timber and tourism – the mainstay of the hill region’s economy.