Darjeeling: A 12-hour bandh called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) hit public life in Darjeeling on Wednesday as commercial establishments remained shut, defying the state government calls to boycott the strike.
The bandh, called by the GJM in support of a separate state of Gorkhaland, has been termed “illegal” by the Calcutta high court. Several shopkeepers and transport operators, however, supported the bandh in the upper reaches of West Bengal.
There were no reports of violence but minor tension was reported from Kurseong and Kalimpong towns where sympathisers of the ruling Trinamool Congress who were opposing the strike came face to face with GJM supporters who laid siege to important junctions of the hills to make the bandh a success.
The strike is being seen as the beginning of a new phase of protests in the hills as the GJM renews its calls for a separate Gorkhaland.
Seven companies of central forces and large contingents of the state police have been deployed to thwart attempts at disturbing peace. Trinamool Congress leaders Gautam, Rabindranath Ghosh and James Kujur have set up camp in the area to monitor the situation.