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By A Newsman

Siliguri, 14 September: GORKHA Janmukti Morcha leader Binay Tamang today paid a visit to his party leaders lodged in Siliguri and Jalpaiguri jails to listen to their hardships and find way out for relief from the government.

The move comes at a time when Darjeeling Hills is slowly limping back to normality despite Bimal Gurung’s call that the shutdown, which started on 15 June, should continue. Today some shops, schools, and most government offices have opened in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik, and Kalimpong. Vehicles too are plying but in fewer numbers.

Alarmed by this, Gurung has released yet another audio tape from his undisclosed hideout, asking supporters to intensify picketing from tomorrow to ensure that the bandh is not withdrawn until a tripartite talk is announced to discuss Gorkhaland demand.

Tamang said that there are some 119 Morcha workers and leaders lodged in the Siliguri Sub-divisional Correctional Home and the Jalpaiguri Central Correctional Home and as is obvious, they are facing severe hardships.

“There are men and women both, and there is one woman who has been separated from her baby. I have taken stock of their plight and will explore what relief can be facilitated from the government,” he said, declining to elaborate on the hardships the jailed Morcha leaders were facing.

Tamang said that while the Hills is limping back to normality, their focus will now be on taking up agitation programme that will exert pressure on the government and not on the common people. “We will also visit Delhi before Durga Puja to have a dialogue with the Centre.”

In a related development, state food minister Jyotipriya Mullick and Cabinet colleagues tourism minister Gautam Deb, labour minister Moloy Ghatak, and tribal affairs minister James Kujur held a meeting with representatives of tea garden owners, workers, and administration from Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Alipurduar, and Jalpaiguri to restore ration supply in the tea gardens.