October 25, 2008

Normalcy returns to Darjeeling hills

By Indo-Asian News Service on Thursday, October 23, 2008
Normalcy returned to West Bengal's Darjeeling district Thursday as supporters of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) stopped the forcible use of Gorkhaland in vehicles number plates and signboards as part of their non-cooperation movement in the hills.
"The situation is normal now, both in the hills and plains. No fresh incident took place Thursday," said Rahul Srivastava, Darjeeling district police superintendent.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist's labour wing Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) Wednesday called a 72-hour transport strike protesting the non-cooperation movement of the GJM in the hills.

CITU activists stopped all vehicles with GL number plates, including passenger cars, trucks and goods vehicles, to enter the plains. Later the strike was withdrawn in the evening after holding an administrative meeting in the district CITU committee.

The GJM, led by its president Bimal Gurung, has been spearheading a movement in the hills demanding a separate state and also opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling.

The central government in 2005 announced Sixth Schedule status to the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) that ensures greater autonomy to the governing body. But Gurung's group, which is opposed to the GNLF, is demanding full statehood.

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