Additional Director General (Law and Order) of West Bengal Anuj Sharma on Monday claimed that normalcy had been restored in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts after months of unrest, according to ANI. In a statement, he said that the newly-formed Gorkhaland Territorial Administration had started functioning effectively.
Sharma said internet services had been restored, as well, and that shops, business establishments and tea gardens had reopened in both districts. “The residents of the two districts are now getting actively involved in the religious festivities centring Durga Puja leading to normalcy in the region,” he said, according to The Telegraph. “Keeping in mind these facts, the state administration has decided to lift the restrictions on use of internet in the two hill districts.”
Earlier, reports had said that after a lot of persuasion, 80% of shops in the main markets of Darjeeling district had opened by Sunday evening.
But there were also reports of fresh violence on Sunday when activists of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had allegedly set a vehicle on fire in Lebong and beat up the driver for defying a call for a shutdown. Not paying heed to the strike, shops had opened across Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik after 19 traders’ bodies decided to not support the shutdown.
The unrest in the Darjeeling Hills began on June 15, after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced her decision to make Bengali compulsory in state-run schools. While she had clarified that hill districts would be exempted from the rule, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha began an agitation that soon revived the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.