Darjeeling unrest LIVE updates: GJM strike enters day 8, Toy Train services affected

Darjeeling unrest: Home Minister Rajnath Singh had appealed for peace in the region.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 19, 2017 3:57 pm
Gorkhaland, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, GJM, GJM women members, darjeeling, darjeeling violence, india news, indian express GJM supporters protest in Singmari, near Darjeeling on Saturday. Partha Paul

The indefinite strike called by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in Darjeeling, West Bengal, demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland, entered its eighth day. The strike affected the services of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as Toy Train, news agency ANI reported on Monday.

On Sunday, GJM supporters assembled at the Chowk Bazar area and took out a silent procession in protest against the death of three activists. Home Minister Rajnath Singh also appealed for calm in the region and said that dialogue can resolve the issue.

The unrest began after West Bengal government announced their decision to make Bengali mandatory in all the schools. Despite the government amending its notification, exempting the Hills, the protests snowballed into demands for a separate state.

There were reports of tourists, both local and foreign, being stranded in the region because of the current turmoil.

Here are the LIVE updates:

3.50 pm:  Students have taken out candle light march to pay tribute to people who lost their lives in the protest.

3.15 pm: Protesters have blocked National Highway 31 A at some places in Darjeeling district. The 92 km long NH 31 A connects Sevoke in Darjeeling district to Gangtok and is considered the lifeline of Sikkim. Around 30 km of the highway passes through West Bengal.

2:38 pm: Partha Chatterjee and home secretary to participate in an all-party-meeting on 22 June called by state govt, in Siliguri.

1:00 pm:

12:50 pm: “Such unity among the people of the hills was last witnessed in the 80s. Gorkhaland is a sentiment of the people of the hills, which you cannot afford to ignore. It can be suppressed for some time but can’t be wiped out,” PTI quotes Jan Andolan Party (JAP) chief Harka Bahadur Chetri as saying.

12:00 pm: “The role of alliance partner the BJP is very unfortunate”The role of alliance partner the BJP is very unfortunateand very disappointing. We had expected something positivefrom the Central government. “We feel that we are being used as pawns by the Centre and the state,” says Darjeeling MLA Amar Rai, as reported by PTI.

11:00 am:

 

10:00 am: No incidents of violence reported from the region so far. However, the security forces remain on high alert and internet service remain suspended. “The situation is still very tense. Since morning there has been no incident of violence but we are on high alert and prepared for any eventuality,” a senior police officer told PTI.

9:00 am: “Violent protest won’t be tolerated. My ministers are monitoring the situation,” says West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.

8:00 am: The popular Toy Train services have taken a hit due to ongoing protests and strike called by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in Darjeeling. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, popularly known as  Toy Train, is an attraction for the tourists coming to the region.

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