A large number of shops opened in Darjeeling today signalling normalcy that had eluded the hills for the past three months due to indefinite strike called by the GJM for a separate state of Gorkhaland. The situation in the hills remained tense but incident- free despite threats and intimidation by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which is spearheading the movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland. The indefinite shutdown in the hills entered its 91st day today. For the fifth day in a row, the police along with the administration, appealed to the locals via public address systems to open shops and restore normalacy in the hills. Peace rallies were taken out by the residents in Kurseong, Darjeeling and Mirik. Expelled GJM leader Binay Tamang today asked GJM supremo Bimal Gurung to come back to the hills instead of issuing statements from a hideout. "If he is a leader then he should come back to the hills rather than issuing statements from a secret location like a coward," Tamang said. Gurung had yesterday rejected West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's appeal to withdraw the shutdown in the hills, saying it would continue till the Centre holds a tripartite meeting on the Gorkhaland issue. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yesterday urged the Gorkhaland protestors in Darjeeling to withdraw their strike and restore normalcy. The GJM supporters took out rallies in support of a separate Gorkhaland and the ongoing shutdown in sections of Darjeeling, Sonada and Kalimpong. Internet services remains suspended in the hills since June 18.
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