The Calcutta High Court today directed the West Bengal government to take steps to restore peace and normalcy in unrest-hit Darjeeling hills where a shutdown has been called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. The directions were passed by a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T Chakraborty. The bench passed the directions while reiterating earlier orders of the Supreme Court and of the Calcutta High Court that bandh or general strikes are illegal. Acting on a petition filed by a lawyer, the bench directed the state government to submit a report on the situation in the hills after two weeks, when the matter will come up for hearing again.
The bench also directed the state to make an estimate of the loss of government and private property due to the agitation. It asked petitioner Ramaprasad Sarkar to serve notice to GJM chief Bimal Gurung and party general secretary Roshan Giri, who are respondents in the petition. Violence erupted in Darjeeling during an agitation by GJM on June nine when a cabinet meeting was being held at the Raj Bhawan there.
The hills have been restive since then and incidents of violence and arson have been reported from Darjeeling town and some other places in the hills.