The ban on internet services in the Darjeeling Hills, facing indefinite shut down for the last 41 days for carving out a separate state of Gorkhaland out of West Bengal, was extended today till August 4. The 41-day-long shutdown till now has emerged to be the second longest so far in the picturesque hill station, which had witnessed a 40-day bandh in 1988 by Gorkha National Liberation Front and a 44-day shutdown in 2013 by Gorkha Janamukti Morcha on the statehood issue. The ban on internet services had been first imposed on June 18 and the district administration extended it today.
Pro-Gorkhaland activists took out rallies in Darjeeling today during the day but no incident of violence or arson was reported by the police. With GJM, which is spearheading the agitation, holding rallies today at various places, the police and security forces patrolled the streets of the hills and kept a tight vigil at all entry and exit routes. Except for medical shops, business establishments, restaurants, hotels, schools and colleges remained closed. With food supply severely hit due to the indefinite shutdown, the GJM and various NGOs of the hills distributed food items among people.