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Featured Image: Mobile handsets being burned at Ghoom in Darjeeling on Wednesday. 

By A Newsman

Siliguri, 26 July: PEOPLE in Darjeeling Hills today burned their mobile phones to protest against the suspension of Internet services for 39 days now at the behest of the state administration.

This rather “innovative” protest came on a day the indefinite shutdown in the Hills enforced by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) completed 42-days.

GJM had called the shutdown on 15 June after police raided and found cache of sharps arms-weapons in the residence of its president Bimal Gurung, but later tagged the demand for separate Gorkhaland state to it.

The administration, on the other hand, made the mobile telephone companies to suspend Internet services in the whole of Darjeeling Hills with effect from 18 June after it was found that GJM was using WhatsApp and Facebook to communicate with its cadres in organising the agitations. The ban is now valid until 4 August, unless it is extended further.

With Gorkhaland demand being tagged to the shutdown, people are not openly expressing any discontent against it despite the bandh having crippled normal life. But a group of them, mostly youths, today took out a huge rally from Ghoom-Jorebanglow-Ghoom, against the ban on Internet.

At the end of the rally, the agitators burned their mobile phones in a bonfire organised by burning tyres as a symbolic protest. Some 10 mobile handsets were burned. The agitators reasoned that the Internet ban has made it difficult for the students of class IX and X from the Hills to go for the mandatory online registration with the exam boards.