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17 Jun 2017

Calcutta High Court intervenes in Darjeeling imbroglio

A media vehicle that was torched by miscreants on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Sahay Sing

Shiv Sahay Singh, TH, 16 June 2017, Darjeeling: Violence was reported across the hills after the GJM called for a complete shutdown following a raid on its president Bimal Gurung’s residence in Patlebas on Thursday; Mamata Banerjee sends seven more IPS officers to control the situation
The Calcutta High Court on Friday cited its 2013 judgement terming bandhs/shutdowns as illegal and asked the West Bengal government to submit a interim report by two weeks to assess the damage caused to the public property in the violence reportedly unleashed by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activists.
The court asked the Principle Secretary to assess the quantum of damage and asked the government to implement the earlier High Court order in letter and spirit.
It also asked GJM representatives to be present during the next hearing on June 23.

Army called in

Earlier, three columns of the Army were deployed near the GJM headquarters at Singmarii in Darjeeling on Friday in the wake of the violence in the hills.
Violence was reported across the hills on Thursday and a media vehicle was set on fire after the GJM called for a complete shutdown in the hills following a raid on its president Bimal Gurung’s residence in Patlebas and ''seizure'' of arms, bows and arrows, baseball bats, sharp weapons, knives and crackers.
On Friday, the cash counter of the Rimbick Hydel power plant and a primary health centre in Darjeeling were set on fire by miscreants. The Tarakhola forest bungalow at Kalimpong a primary school, and a gram panchayat office at Mirik were also destroyed by arsonists. At least six suspected Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters have been detained in this connection.
There was a complete shutdown in the Darjeeling hills on the second day of the indefinite strike call by the GJM. Shops, educational institutions and commercial establishments including hotels, remained shut.
Tension remains visible at Patlebas, where police personnel on Thursday retreated following incidents of pelting of stones and clashes between the protesters and security forces.
>PTi adds:
According to an official, in view of the shutdown called by the GJM, an examination could not be held at an IGNOU centre in Darjeeling on Friday.
The stranded tourists were affected as most of the hotels, restaurants, eateries remained shut, and few buses for coming down to Siliguri in the plains.
“We are waiting for a bus since 5.30 am but not a single bus is available to take us to Siliguri,” Aninda Bhaduri, a tourist, said.
“I have practical exams in Siliguri but there is not a single bus to take me there,” another tourist Swati Rai said.

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