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Featured Image: Trinamool rally (left) at Garidhura and shops that have started functioning (right). 

By A Newsman

Siliguri, 06 September: ON one hand, police have intensified drive against Gorkha Janmukti Morcha cadres allegedly involved in violence and, on the other, ruling Trinamool is organising “peace” rally at various places in Darjeeling Hills every day.

After Panighata and Mirik in the past two days, today was the turn for Garidhura where Trinamool took out a sizeable peace rally. The place is located about 25 km from Kursong town and about 20 km from Siliguri plains.

State tourism minister Gautam Deb, Darjeeling Hill Trinamool president Rajen Mukhia, district leader Pradeep Pradhan and others took part in the rally in the morning along with a few hundred party cadres from the Hills.

Not only this. Trinamool also distributed food-grains to the people of Garidhura, who like people in other parts of the Hills, are reeling under the Morcha imposed indefinite shutdown since 15 June. Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP from Kurseong, Santa Chhetri, was also present during the ration distribution.

The twin move and the presence of large police force instilled confidence among the businesses at Garidhura, some of whom opened their shops soon defying Morcha chief Bimal Gurung’s diktat that the shutdown will not end until the government initiated a dialogue on Gorkhaland.

At Panighata and Mirik, many shops are open since 4 September after being prodded by Trinamool and the police. The trend is slowly spreading to other parts of the Hills as people are finding it difficult to sustain the near three month long bandh.

Speaking to reporters at Garidhura, minister Deb said that Hills are getting back to normality as this is what the people want. “We are now organising rallies in places closer to the foothills. Gradually, rallies will be held at Kurseong, Kalimpong, and Darjeeling in favour of peace,” he said.

At Kalimpong, Morcha rival Jan Andolan Party of Harka Bahadur Cheetri organised a public meeting and Chhetri announced that they were against the bandh continuing anymore as it was only resulting in peoples’ hardship. He said that JAP will take part in the second round of state’s peace talks in Siliguri on 12 September.

These developments took place on a day police arrested two more GJM youth wing leaders from Kurseong on charges of violence and arson at public properties. They have been identified as Anil Rai and Sameer Sharma.