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Shops reopen in Darjeeling, even as indefinite shutdown enters 87th day

Much to the delight of people in Darjeeling, a significant number of the shops reopened in the hill city today. The shops showed great courage since they are still being threatened by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), the organization that has called an indefinite strike in relation to their demand for a separate Gorkhaland. Many of the shops were opened today even as the indefinite strike has entered its 87th day today. The shops were encouraged to open their shutters by the police and the local administration. A public address system was used, requesting shops to open. The authorities feel that opening of shops would help restore normalcy in Darjeeling.

Some resident groups also organized peace rallies to help improve the situation in Darjeeling. It may be recalled that GJM has been threatening the local people with violence and bomb blasts. However, after seeing so many shops open, it is clear that people just want peace and a normal life. Currently, the police are searching for absconding GJM supremo Bimal Gurung, who has been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Several other members of GJM have been arrested by the police, but Gurung managed to escape. However, GJM supporters were still active in certain areas such as Sonada and Kalimpong. They were seen to be distributing posters and leaflets in support of their indefinite strike.

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