Gorkhas call off strike ahead of tripartite meeting

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Sukna (West Bengal), July 28 (ANI): Life returned to normal at Sukna in West Bengal on Tuesday when the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) called off their strike.

Gorkhas called an indefinite strike in the region on June 10 demanding a separate state of "Gorkhaland" to be carved out of West Bengal to protect their culture and heritage.

Spearheading the strike, the GJM has called off the strike till August 17 ahead of a proposed tripartite meeting among Gorkhas, the West Bengal and the Central Government, which is scheduled on August 11.

"We have received a message from our Central Committee that the ongoing strike has been called off for the success of the August 11 tripartite meet. If the government fails to take any concrete step during the meet, then we will again go on indefinite strike from August 17," said Opu Chettri, a pro-autonomy activist.

The last tripartite meeting among the three sides took place on December 29, last year where it was decided to take forward the talks after the Lok Sabha polls.

Meanwhile, shopkeepers expressed happiness as normal hustle bustle returned to the market.

"For the sake of a separate state all of us are facing hardships. Today, strike has been called off. All shops are opened after long time and people are coming and buying our products," said Pappu Prasad, a shopkeeper.

Tourism and the tea industry were badly hit by the strike called by Gorkhas. A tea industry official has warned exports of premium Darjeeling tea could fall 20-25 per cent this year. (ANI)

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