Soon after the appeal from Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha group called off the 104-days long strike at Darjeeling.
The hilly-chilly tourist paradise of north-east India had turned out into a strife-zone with strikes, shutdowns and protest from the Gorkha community, who were demanding for a separate Gorkhaland state in the Darjeeling hills. The strike carried out by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) lasted for 104 days was triggered over three months earlier when West Bengal government mandated teaching of Bengali mandatory in Darjeeling. Minor protest for revoking the linguistic school rule turned into a full-fledged protest for a separate state for Gorkha community.
In an attempt to solve the dispute, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh appealed to the GJM to end the strike and said that in democracy, two-way dialogue is the only way to resolve any problem. He urged GJM president Bimal Gurung to call off the shutdown and find a solution through mutual dialogue and understanding within legal ambit. Singh had also asked Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba to conduct an official meeting with all parties involved – including Bengal state government, to discuss the matter and solve it within a fortnight.
Soon after the appeal, Bimal Gurung announced his party’s decision to end the shutdown and withdraw the protest from 6 am on Wednesday, via an audio message to the Gorkha community. Gurung urged the locals to resume back to normalcy after over three-months long strike and resume transport service, reopen shops, schools and colleges. With this, the shutdown which has costed 11 precious lives and 7 injured severely, has finally ended to resume a conductive atmosphere in the hilly region of Darjeeling – the tourist hub; and a hope that peace will persist in Darjeeling because it is such a beautiful place to be disdained by disputes.