Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung on Tuesday called off the indefinite strike in Darjeeling, 104 days after the group revived its agitation in the hills for a separate state of Gorkhaland. He assured Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba that normalcy will return to Darjeeling from 6 am on Wednesday.
Gurung announced his group’s decision to withdraw its call for a shutdown in an audio message issued from an undisclosed location, according to The Indian Express.
His statement comes hours after Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh urged the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to withdraw its strike in Darjeeling and end the unrest. He had asked Gauba to set up a meeting with members of the Gorkha group within a fortnight to discuss “all issues” and resolve the conflict.
The turmoil in the Darjeeling Hills began in June, 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.