Darjeeling: Normal life was paralysed in the Darjeeling Hills as the indefinite agitation for a separate state of Gorkhaland entered the sixth day Monday even as 53 GJM members were taken into custody.
While 27 were arrested in connection with old cases, the remaining were preventive arrests. With the fresh arrests, the total number of those taken into custody has risen to 808, police said.
The West Bengal government was also distributing rice and flour at 11 outlets in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong subdivisions, officials said.
A total of 15 quintal of rice and 5 quintal of flour had reached the outlets last night. The indefinite stir and shut down in the hills have forced closure of markets and shops.
Meanwhile, GJM President Bimal Gurung has urged school students to take out rallies in Darjeeling for five days from August 27 demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland, though other constituents of the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee have decided in principle to keep schools and colleges out of the ambit of the current agitation.
Gurung, in an appeal to parents of school children aged between 12 and 18 years, urged them to allow their wards to take part in rallies.
Schools in the hills have been closed mostly since July 29, when the agitation began.Gurung also urged children to raise the the statehood issue on social media.