Gorkha Janmukti Morcha activists set a vehicle on fire in Lebong and beat up the driver for defying a call for a shutdown on Sunday, PTI reported. Shops opened across Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik towns after 19 traders’ bodies decided not to support the strike.
The fresh violence forced some shop owners to down their shutters, fearing backlash, according to The Times of India. However, some continued to defy the call for a strike and kept their shops open. “After a lot of persuasion, 80% of shops in the main markets of Darjeeling district had opened by the end of the day,” Mint quoted Joyoshi Dasgupta, the district magistrate of Darjeeling, as saying.
Security was increased across the district, and internet services remain suspended in the hills.
The unrest in the Darjeeling hills began on June 15, when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced her decision to make Bengali compulsory in state-run schools. While she said the 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 the separate state of Gorkhaland.