Gorkhaland agitation: Shops reopen in Mirik, Kurseong after more than two months
Shops and markets on Monday reopened in the Mirik and Kurseong sub-divisions of the Darjeeling hills after more than two-and-a-half months of braving intimidation by the GJM.
Darjeeling: Shops and markets on Monday reopened in the Mirik and Kurseong sub-divisions of the Darjeeling hills after more than two-and-a-half months of braving threats and intimidation by the GJM.
Life, however, continued to be paralysed in the other parts of the hills with shops and markets closed due to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM)-sponsored indefinite shutdown, which entered its 82nd day on Monday.
A peace rally was taken out by the residents of Kurseong and Mirik, demanding restoration of peace in the hills. The Mirik civic poll was won by the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in May.
"For the last two-and-a-half months, our shops are closed. How will we run our families?" asked a shopkeeper in Mirik.
State tourism minister and senior TMC leader Gautam Deb welcomed the move and claimed that the people of the hills were against the "divisive politics" of GJM chief Bimal Gurung.
"Today the shops have opened at Mirik and Kurseong, tomorrow this will be replicated in the other parts of the hills. People are against the divisive politics of 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".
When contacted, the GJM leadership refused to comment on the development.
Meanwhile, the search operation launched by the police on Friday night for absconding GJM chief Gurung, against whom cases have been lodged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), continued in the Darjeeling hills and adjoining areas.
Huge amounts of explosives were recovered from the Lebong area of the hills during the day and a Gorkhaland supporter was arrested by the police for his alleged involvement in arson and violence.
Rallies in support of Gorkhaland and the ongoing shutdown were taken out at Darjeeling, Sonada and Kalimpong.
Picketing by GJM supporters was strengthened at several places in the hills and posters and leaflets were distributed in support of the strike.
The internet services in the hills remained suspended since 18 June.
The police and security forces maintained a strict vigil to avoid any untoward incident.
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