Riots broke out in Darjeeling On June 8 as a response to Bengal’s now chief minister Mamta Banerjee on May 16 as declared that Bengali will be made compulsory for all students across the state. The GorkhaJanmuktiMorcha (GJM) which is a famous political party amongst Nepali-speaking Gorkhas in Darjeeling called for a protest on June 8. An ugly clash took place between the GJM members and the police. The army had to be called into action when things got out of control. By evening things were restored back to normal.
On 9th June GJM members called for a ‘bandh’ to protest against police’s indiscriminate actions on a peaceful protest. However, Mamta Banerjee regarded the ‘bandh’ as illegal and declared that strict legal action would be taken against those participating in the protest.
June 10 onwards, GJM General Secretary called for an infinite bandh on all government offices although hotels, schools, colleges and transportation were exempted from the same.
This chaos has created a situation of unrest amongst the tourists. As it is peak time a lot of tourists have gone to visit Darjeeling. Many of the tourists have cut short their vacation and returned home as soon as possible. Much more are still stranded due to lack of availability of tickets. Even though the CM ensured that arrangements have been made to get the tourists safely back to Siliguri and Calcutta from Darjeeling, yet a feeling of panic and fear has driven them to hurry up. These protests have been difficult not just for the tourists but also on other people working in hotels, as tourist guides, people having shops etc as their main source of income is during tourist months. Many people including army officials have been severely injured and the protest has also resulted in deaths. Currently, the situation in Darjeeling is very unstable and in ways fatal too.