On the eve of the seventh day of 'indefinite bandh' by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), Darjeeling authorities have blocked airing of news in the hills by three local cable TV operators.
GJM chief Bimal Gurung accused the District Administration of raiding the cable operators late night on Thursday after the office hours.
"Late last night around 9 pm the District Administration raided all cable operators and asked for documents. The documents could not be provided as it was very late in the night and hence the cable TV network has been blocked as of now," Gurung posted on the social networking site Facebook.
The officials told Press Trust of India that the three local channels were stopped from airing as they had created tensions in the district. The move came after the Calcutta High Court asked the Bengal government and Darjeeling authorities on Wednesday to take any necessary measures required to bring back normalcy in the troubled hills. A public interest litigation (PIL) was lodged to direct the state government to ensure normalcy in the hill regions.
The Gorkhaland movement entered a fresh phase of agitation when Congress endorsed a separate statehood to Telangana in Andhra Pradesh on 30 July.
Since the indefinite bandh was launched by the GJM on 3 August, local markets and ration shops have been experiencing shortage of food items in the town and nearby areas. The strike has also affected the traffic on the National Highway 31 A, which connects Sikkim with West Bengal.
On Thursday, a GJM member of the youth wing attempted self-immolation. He is still in critical condition at the Darjeeling Sadar Hospital. At least eight women members of the GJM shaved their heads in public as a protest on the sixth day of the bandh.
The high court has asked Darjeeling's Superintendent of police to submit a compliance report in the next hearing of the trial on 14 August. The court also ruled that any interruption in the emergency services like water, medicare and power supply shall not be tolerated, reported PTI.
Meanwhile, Punit Yadav will take over as the new Darjeeling district magistrate from Soumitra Mohan on Friday.