The 48-hour bandh called by Gorkha Janamukti Morcha crippled life in Darjeeling hills today, even as suspected members of the outfit damaged six vehicles on a highway connecting the region to Sikkim, police said.
"The attack on six private vehicles on NH 31A, the road link to Sikkim, might have been carried out by members of Highway Protection Committee, an unofficial wing of GJM, to tactically enforce the bandh without directly violating the Supreme Court order to keep the highway out of the purview of shutdowns," IGP (North Bengal) K L Tamta said.
The highway was open, but movement of vehicles to Sikkim was less than normal as the news of the attack on the vehicles spread, Tamta said.
Meanwhile, the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong wore a deserted look with all shops, markets and business establishments closed and vehicles keeping off the roads.
With the administrative-level tripartite talks on Gorkhaland failing to yield results, the GJM has revived its agitation for a separate state.
The party has called a separate 10-day bandh on June 12 in Siliguri.
GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told PTI that the party has been "forced" to renew its demand for Gorkhaland as both the state and the Centre was not ready to consider its demand for demarcation of territory for the proposed interim hill council, which has demanded inclusion of Siliguri and adjoining areas in the Dooars and Terai.