GJM withdraws indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling after Rajnath's appeal to restore normalcy

ANI | Updated: Sep 27, 2017 00:52 IST

Darjeeling (West Bengal) [India], September 27 (ANI): The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has withdrawn the indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling hills with effect from tomorrow - 6 a.m., following Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh's appeal to restore normalcy in the area.

The shutdown had been continuing in the hills for the past 104 days.

Rajnath Singh, earlier in a statement, said that the Centre was taking all possible steps to resolve the row through dialogue.

"I appeal to the GJM and its leader Bimal Gurung to withdraw the ongoing bandh and to help create a conducive atmosphere for allowing normalcy to return to the area, particularly in view of the festival season," Singh had said.

He further confirmed that he had asked Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba to convene an official-level meeting within a fortnight to discuss all related issues.

"Eleven precious lives have been lost so far, seven have been injured and everyone in the Darjeeling hills have suffered a lot since the strike. I have been pained immensely by what has happened in Darjeeling hills," he said.

Earlier on 20 September, the West Bengal Government appointed GJM leader Binay Tamang as the chairman of a new board of administrators to run the Darjeeling hills.

The board comprises of nine members, including West Bengal Chief Secretary Malay Kr. De, Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer. Tamang's acolyte, Anit Thapa, has been made the vice chairman of the board.

Also, L.B. Rai, Trinamool Congress councillor of Mirik municipality, the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), Man Ghising and the Sanchabir Subba (GJM) are also part of the new board.

This board will govern the area that falls under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.

Following the unrest in the Darjeeling hills, all 45 elected members of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), including its Chief Executive Bimal Gurung, had resigned from the administrative body.

GJM leader and former Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) chief Bimal Gurung had separated from this board in June. Since then, the demand for Gorkhaland in the valley began to rise again and swiftly.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, criticised Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for holding a meeting with GJM leaders against who a lookout notice had been issued. (ANI)