Published On: Sat, Jun 17th, 2017

More govt offices burnt in Darjeeling

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drjDarjeeling : Violence and arson marked the second day of the indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling hills today, with Army and paramilitary forces patrolling the streets to help restore calm.

The scenic hills were largely shorn of tourists as Gorkhaland stir threw normal life into utter disarray. Security personnel took out route marches in the hills as Army patrolled the areas around Patlebas and Singamari where a large cache of weapons, explosives and cash were recovered yesterday.

As Darjeeling resembled a garrison town, with security personnel in riot gear fanning across its length and breadth, the Centre today decided to put on hold sending fresh troops to help restore normalcy as the state government has not yet submitted its report on the situation prevailing there.

Scores of alleged GJM activists descended on a panchayat office in Mirik, 50 km from Darjeeling, and set it on fire, an official said. A primary health centre was also set on fire at Lodhama.

Six suspected Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters were detained today for allegedly setting ablaze a forest department office at Tarakhola in Kalimpong last night, a government official said.

“The situation is still very tense. Anything can happen. We have taken out a route march for area domination at various places,” a senior police officer told media.

The turmoil, which was set off by the state government’s announcement about introduction of compulsory teaching of Bengali language in schools, has begun impacting day-to-day life in the hills with schools, markets and even bank ATMs shut.

There were hardly any tourists at the mall and on streets, which used to be teeming with them at this time of the year.

Though there was relative calm in the hills after yesterday’s widespread violence, Gorkha Janamukti Morcha supremo Bimal Gurung, who has gone underground, asked people in the hill station to be prepared for the “final battle” for achieving the separate Gorkhaland state..

Ensure normalcy, WB Govt told 

  • The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the West Bengal Government to take steps to restore peace and normalcy in unrest-hit Darjeeling hills
  • A Division Bench passed the directions while reiterating earlier orders of the Supreme Court and of the HC that bandh or general strikes are illegal
  • Acting on a petition filed by a lawyer, the Bench directed the state government to submit a report on the situation in the hills after two weeks, when the matter will come up for hearing again
  • The Bench also directed the state to make an estimate of the loss of government and private property due to the agitation
  • It asked petitioner Ramaprasad Sarkar to serve a notice to GJM chief Bimal Gurung and party general secretary Roshan Giri, who are respondents in the petition
  • Violence erupted in Darjeeling during an agitation by the GJM on June 9 while a Cabinet meeting was being held at the Raj Bhawan there
  • The hills have been restive since then and incidents of violence and arson have been reported from Darjeeling town and some other places in the hills

 

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