One faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, led by party leader Binay Tamang, called off the shutdown in Darjeeling hills for the next 12 days on Thursday. However, immediately after that, party chief Bimal Gurung said the bandh, which has been on since June 15, will continue. “The decision has no legitimacy. The bandh will continue,” Gurung said, according to Hindustan Times.
Tamang said the bandh will be withdrawn till the next round of talks take place with the West Bengal government on September 12, PTI reported.
Darjeeling has faced violence since June when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced her decision to make Bengali compulsory in state-run schools. Although she had said that Hill districts would be exempted from the rule, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha began an agitation that soon turned into a revival of the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
On Tuesday, Banerjee, after talks with several leaders of political parties in Darjeeling, had said a separate Gorkhaland was beyond the state’s jurisdiction. She had said the talks were “fruitful, constructive and positive” and that the government had requested for a withdrawal of the strike in the tourist town.