Darjeeling still on tenterhooks
Without much progress in Darjeeling dead end, the situation in the hills kept on Wednesday, while the indefinite closure entered the seventh day.
There was almost total closure in the hills and only essential services such as medical supplies and hospitals remain open.
There were no vehicles on the streets of Darjeeling, but there was no defeat in the demonstrations and riots, mostly by Nari Morcha, wing of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), of which women organized a series of demonstrations throughout the city.
While there were bicycle marches taken by GJM supporters in various parts of the hills, supporters of the Gorkhaland began a new campaign to put up signs in the hills.
Internet services have remained in the hills for the fourth consecutive day, and according to sources, the situation should remain the same for the next few days.
Despite local political parties, which demand that state governments have the responsibility to restore normalcy and demand the immediate withdrawal of the central forces, there was a large deployment of police and central forces in the hills.
In different places susceptible to Darjeeling – Chowk Bazar, Ghum and Sonada – central forces remained on alert.
Although there are more tourists in the hills, residents of Chowk Bazar gathered in large numbers to catch the bus to the north surface of Bengal Transport Corporation (NBSTC) which are escorted by Siliguri police.
Darjeeling District Judge Joyoshi Dasgupta told the Hindu that, on average, about 800 people were taken to Siliguri in the last seven days.
“Those who were transported by the district administration include, tourists, students will take a test in Siliguri and also local residents who visit the plains for a job,” he said.
Ms Dasgupta said that the state government was trying to provide fresh vegetables in the hills through Sufal Bangla stores. “We try to keep the rationing shops and SIDI centers,” he said, adding that although some rationing shops run, pro-Gorkhaland activists did not allow SIDI centers to remain open.
“We have reports that [Gorkhaland supporters] circulate at night and threaten government employees not to attend the office,” he said.