Darjeeling, June 25 : Life returned to normal in the Darjeeling Hills after the Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha (GJM) relaxed its indefinite shutdown till July 5.
All shops, banks and government offices were open. Vehicles too were seen on roads.The relaxation was extended after a GJM delegation met Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil in New Delhi on Tuesday. GJM President Bimal Gurung said that the GJM central committee will meet on July 27 to decide on a fresh strategy to have their demand for separate statehood met. The GJM had called for an indefinite shutdown on Monday from June 10 onwards to mount pressure for the granting of separate statehood.
The GJM, comprising about half a dozen parties, has been organizing protests over the past few months in the Darjeeling Hills over a demand for a separate Gorkhaland state.
The West Bengal Government, however, has been resisting the demand.
The strike in the Darjeeling Hills has badly hit the tourism and the tea industry, two mainstays of the local economy. A tea industry official has warned exports of premium Darjeeling tea could fall 20-25 per cent this year.
The Gorkha population in West Bengal is around one million out of 80 million people, although the overwhelming majority is concentrated in Darjeeling.