Gorkhaland issue: Shutdown on the eve of Mamata Banerjee`s visit

The trouble-torn Darjeeling hills faced a shutdown on Sunday after a day`s relaxation on the eve of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s two-day visit starting tomorrow.

Darjeeling: The trouble-torn Darjeeling hills faced a shutdown on Sunday after a day`s relaxation on the eve of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s two-day visit starting tomorrow.
Shops downed their shutters and road wore a deserted look. A large number of GJM supporters shouted slogans demanding a separate state on the streets.

The Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee, a conglomerate of eight pro-Gorkhaland parties, has asked people to observe "Ghar Bhitra Janta" (people staying indoors) during the two-day visit of the chief minister.

The chief minister will go to Kalimpong, one of the three Darjeeling sub-divisions, on an invitation by the Lepcha community, which are the original inhabitants of the hills.

The Lepchas will accord a felicitation to the chief minister to acknowledge their appreciation for the formation of the Lepcha Development Board by the West Bengal government.

However, a section of the Lepcha community calling themselves the All-India Lepcha Association is opposed to Mamata`s visit and in protest sat on a hunger strike at Darjeeling town today.

Meanwhile, in a meeting of the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee, a unanimous decision was taken to reopen the schools and colleges which remained closed ever since the agitation for a separate state began early last month.

However, the dates when the 45 schools and 18 colleges would reopen would be decided after September four, a GJAC spokesman said.

Earlier today, a meeting between top Gorkha Janmukti leaders and students of the schools, their teachers and guardians on the reopening of the educational institutions failed to arrive at a decision.

In the meeting GJM president Bimal Gurung reportedly asked students to prepare a write-up on the Gorkhaland demand.

A team of GJM legislators and MPs, past and present, is scheduled to visit New Delhi to meet Congress and BJP leaders on the demand for a separate state. GJM general secretary Roshan Giri is already in Delhi.

The Calcutta High Court had on August 14 expressed displeasure over the GJM`s violation of its order of August 7 which had held the indefinite bandh in Darjeeling as illegal.

PTI

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