New Delhi [India], September 26 (ANI): Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday appealed to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to call off prolonged shut down in Darjeeling.Also Read - Very Excited, Will Work For Bengal's Development: Babul Supriyo After Joining TMC

Singh in a statement said that the Centre is taking all possible steps to resolve the row in Darjeeling through dialogue. Also Read - Niti Aayog Launches 'Shoonya' Program to Promote Zero-Pollution Delivery Vehicles

“I appeal to the GJM and its leader Bimal Gurung to withdraw the ongoing bandh and to help create a conducive atmosphere for allowing normalcy to return to the area, particularly in view of the festival season.” Also Read - RT-PCR Report Not Required For Transit Passengers At Kolkata Airport | Latest Guidelines Here

Singh further confirmed that he has asked Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba to convene an official-level meeting within a fortnight to discuss all related issues.

“Eleven precious lives have been lost so far, seven have been injured and the everyone in the Darjeeling hills have suffered a lot since the strike. I have been pained immensely by what has happened in Darjeeling hills,” he said.

Darjeeling is witnessing a shutdown since June 12

At least 11 protesters have lost their lives and many others have been injured during clashes with the police at the peak of the turmoil.

Earlier on 20 September, the West Bengal Government appointed GJM leader Binay Tamang as the chairman of a new board of administrators to run the Darjeeling hills.

The board comprises of nine members, including West Bengal Chief Secretary Malay Kr. De, Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer. Tamang’s acolyte, Anit Thapa has been made the vice chairman of the board.

Also, L B Rai, Trinamool Congress councilor of Mirik municipality, Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), Man Ghising and Sanchabir Subba (GJM) are also part of the new board.

This board will govern the area that falls under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.

Following the unrest in Darjeeling hills, all 45 elected members of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), including its Chief Executive Bimal Gurung, had resigned from the administrative body.

GJM Leader and former Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) chief Bimal Gurung had separated from this board in June. Since then, the demand for Gorkhaland in the valley began to rise again and swiftly.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticised Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for holding a meeting with GJM leaders against whom a lookout notice has been issued. (ANI)

This is published unedited from the ANI feed.