Millennium Post
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Darjeeling stands still

Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung Saturday demanded an apology from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for hurting the sentiments of the people of the northern hills of West Bengal, and normal life was hit hard in the region following a 12-hour shutdown called by the pro-Gorkhaland outfit.

The shutdown was called to protest the state government's move to form the proposed Lepcha Development Council (LDC).

‘Relation toot gaya hai (the relationship has broken down). It will not mend. Even if the chief minister comes (to us), nothing will happen,’ Gurung said.

‘People of the hills are very sad at what the chief minister said in Darjeeling. She has to apologise before the people of the hills,’ Gurung told reporters here while rejecting Banerjee's remarks made at a function in Darjeeling last month.

‘We must not say anything which will give a wrong message. It is neither your party's programme nor my party's programme. I am very rough and tough in this regard,’ she had said after some GJM activists waved posters that read ‘We want Gorkhaland’ and shouted slogans pressing for the creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland.

The shutdown was total but peaceful in the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseyong - now under the new hill development agency Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) run by the GJM.

Shops and commercial establishments remained closed and vehicles mostly kept off the roads.

But vehicles plied on the vital National Highway number 31 A - connecting Siliguri in Darjeeling district with Sikkim's capital Gangtok  The GJM supporters allowed vehicles with Sikkim number plates while stopping those with West Bengal number plates in the border town of Rangpo under Kalimpong sub-division.

Additional Superintendent of Police Sangmit Lepcha said: ‘The National Highway 31A is open.’ ‘There is an intense police patrolling. No untoward incidents have been reported.’
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