The Calcutta high court on Wednesday asked Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to explain by September 5 why it should not be ordered to compensate the people in Darjeeling for financial losses caused by the 'public curfew' called by the outfit.
The court said the janata (public) curfew, called by the GJM on August 13 and 14 to step up its demand for a separate state, was illegal and violated human rights of Darjeeling people.
Life in the hills of North Bengal has been severely disrupted after Morcha leaders called the curfew the people have been asked to observe by not stepping out of their homes.
The curfew follows a bandh called for an indefinite period from August 3. On August 10, chief minister Mamata Banerjee warned the GJM of an administrative crackdown if the bandh was not withdrawn.
Though Morcha leaders seemed to have softened their stand by suspending the bandh from August 15 to 18, they are supposed to meet on August 16 to decide on the course of agitation from August 19.
Following the high court directive, Morcha leaders will find it difficult to issue bandh and curfew calls. The ruling also makes it possible for the government to penalise disruptive politics besides boosting the Mamata government's efforts to restore normalcy in Darjeeling.
The GJM stepped up its agitation for a separate Gorkhaland after a Congress Working Committee endorsed the formation of Telangana state.