A large number of shops today reopened in the Darjeeling hills, braving threats and intimidation by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), even as the indefinite shutdown in the hills entered its 87th day. The police and administration appealed to the locals today through public address system to open their shops and restore normalcy in the hills. The development comes two days after a blast took place in Mirik, forcing shopkeepers to close their shops. Peace rallies were taken out by the residents of Kurseong, Darjeeling and Mirik demanding restoration of peace in the hills.
State Tourism Minister and senior TMC leader Gautam Deb welcomed the opening of the shops.”GJM is trying to threaten the masses through bomb blasts and violence, but the people of the hills will not bow down before the threats. People are against the divisive politics of Bimal Gurung. They want peace and stability,” he said.Echoing him, expelled GJM leader Binay Tamang thanked the people “for not bowing before the threat and intimidation of the GJM”.
The search operation to trace Gurung, the absconding GJM supremo against whom cases have been lodged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, continued in the Darjeeling hills and adjoining areas. GJM supporters took out rallies in support of Gorkhaland, and the ongoing shutdown in parts of Darjeeling, Sonada and Kalimpong.
Picketing by them was strengthened in some areas and posters and leaflets were distributed in support of the strike. Internet services in the hills remain suspended since June 18.