Darjeeling on edge, GJM takes out rally with body of activist

Henrietta Strickland
June 19, 2017

Darjeeling: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activists protest during a bandh called by the outfit in Darjeeling on Saturday.

Police sources said that prohibitory orders were in force in the entire area and no one was allowed to take out processions.

Earlier in the day, GJM chief Bimal Gurung claimed that the West Bengal Police are illegally entering their supporters' houses and torturing them and also accused them of killing two of his supporters.

Upping the ante, GJM activists, including the women's wing, came out on the streets in hundreds to protest an alleged police raid on the residence of party assistant General Secretary Binay Tamang.

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) workers hurled petrol bombs, stones and bottles at the police at several places.

Terming the situation in the hills as "very very volatile", GJM leader Amar Singh Rai claimed a separate state of Gorkhaland is the biggest priority for them and rebuffed any possibility of discussions with the Bengal government. They are only throwing bombs.

The state government also asked the Army to deploy forces in the wake of the Bandh to ensure normalcy in the state.

After Bimal Gurung's office and other premises of GJM were raided in this latest round of agitation, the party leadership chose to revive the force to counter the alleged police atrocities.

GJM chief Bimal Gurung claimed that people of the hills are being tortured by the Bengal government.

As Darjeeling remained on the boil over a separate statehood agitation, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday appealed to protesters not to resort to violence and, instead, hold dialogue to resolve any issue. GJM supporters threw both stones and bottles at the police. They set our vehicles ablaze. "We can't support those who are indulging in violence and hooliganism", she said. The first incidents of violence were reported from the hills soon after Mamata Banerjee and her Cabinet were about to leave the Raj Bhawan in Darjeeling after their Cabinet meeting there. The protests had started against "imposition" of Bengali language in schools.

The biggest conflagration happened at Singmari, near the GJM's main office on Lebong Cart Road, close to St Joseph's College, St Joseph's School, North Point School, Darjeeling Zoo and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Security forces also picked up college teacher and GJM spokesperson Vikram Rai, son of Darjeeling MLA Asok Rai, but later released him. "It is unfortunate. We hope to resist the vandalism in the hills with the people", Darjeeling district Trinamool president Goutam Deb, who is also the tourism minister of the state, told the media.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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