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Darjeeling tense but incident-free; 12-hr Eid relaxation for

26 June 2017

The police and security forces patrolled the streets of the hills and police pickets were placed at the entry and exit routes of Darjeeling.

Despite the ongoing indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling in demands of a separate "Gorkhaland", the leadership of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) has confirmed on Sunday that there will be a "partial relaxation for 12 hours" of their shutdown on Monday so the Muslim community may observe Eid.

The GJM has offered a 12-hour "window" to the schools in the Darjeeling hills to evacuate their students safely to Siliguri and Rongpo. Earlier on Friday, GJM supremo Bimal Gurung had said that there would be no relaxation for Muslims to celebrate Eid, the biggest festival of the community. "The shutdown will continue as it has been the last 10 days", the leader said. Barring medicine outlets, all other shops remained closed in the hills.

Meanwhile, the GJM's head office in Singhmari, which was closed after the June 15 police raid, was opened today.

Gorkha men, women and children took part in the rally amidst heavy rains carrying pro-Gorkhaland placards and shouting slogans against the West Bengal Government.

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"We had never talked about Gorkhaland".

The lovely hill station of Darjeeling in northern West Bengal has been on the boil for more than 2 weeks and has faced an indefinite shutdown for the last 10 days as a part of the demands for Gorkhaland state.

The fresh controversy erupted as the GJM and other political parties complained about "a blackout of news" in the region as the telecast of several national and regional news channels along with internet services was interrupted in Darjeeling and Kalimpong district. "But this time, due to the shutdown in the hills, we are facing huge losses", said the owner of a garment shop. "Who are they (GJM) to demand a separate state?" an activist of the outfit said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

Darjeeling tense but incident-free; 12-hr Eid relaxation for