Shutdown affects life in north Bengal towns

Friday, May 14, 2010

SILIGURI - Normal life was affected in the urban areas of several north Bengal districts Friday following a 24-hour shutdown called by the Bangla O Bangla Bhasa Bachao Committee against the demand of a seperate Gorkhaland state.

The committee, which seeks to save the state and the language and stridently opposes the demand for creation of a Gorkahland state out of parts of north Bengal, also protested against the tri-partite talks held in Delhi with the pro-Gorkhaland Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM).

Siliguri town in Darjeeling district virtually came to a standstill with shops, markets and commercial establishments downing shutters. Private vehicles did not ply, the district court remained closed, while offices recorded thin attendance.

The impact of the shutdown was also felt in Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri towns of the districts with the same names.

However, it was business as usual in the three Darjeeling district hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong.

Tea gardens were also open in the Dooars or the Himalayan foothills in Jalpaiguri district.

Nine shutdown supporters were arrested from Siliguri for attempts to disrupt normal life, said Sub-divisional Officer (Siliguri) Rajat Kumar Saini.

Meanwhile, the GJM has called a two-day shutdown in the “proposed Gorkhaland territory” May 15 and May 16, demanding a separate state.

Political tempers are again running high in the hills with the GJM calling a 10-day shutdown from June 12-21 on the demand for the separate state.

GJM activists - headed by party president Bimal Gurung - have been agitating for the separate Gorkhaland state besides opposing special status to the hill governing body, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).

Filed under: Politics

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