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9 Jun 2017

Darjeeling bandh: Mamata warns of stern action against GJM supporters

TOI, Jun 9, 2017, DARJEELING: Coming down heavily on the Bimal Gurung-led Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday warned GJM supporters of stern action even as the Left Front has demanded an all-party meet on the hill issue.


The CM said Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has failed to carry out any development work in the Hill and now when their term is scheduled to be over next month, they have started "torturing the public".


"Government was soft and had given them all kind of support but now government will be very tough after what happened yesterday. The government will not tolerate all these," she said.


Situation tense, yet no fresh violence

Meanwhile, situation continued to be tense in the hills on Friday even as no fresh incident of violence was reported after Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters clashed with police, damaged police vehicles and set some of them ablaze on Thursday.


The 12-hour strike called by the GJM on Friday has almost stalled life in the hills with most of the shops, eateries and markets remaining closed and vehicles off the roads.


The Army has staged a flag march in Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Kurseong after angry GJM activists demanding a separate Gorkhaland state indulged in arson and pelted stones at police, injuring 15, in Darjeeling, on Thursday.


A defence ministry spokesperson said in Kolkata that six Army columns have been deployed -- three in Darjeeling, two in Kalimpong and one in Kurseong. Each column comprises of 43 personnel.


Three companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have also been deployed to ensure peace.

"Army was requisitioned at 6.15 pm yesterday (Thursday) in Darjeeling after a mob turned violent and injured government personnel and vandalised government property," he said.


"Two Army columns were deployed initially in Darjeeling. Requisition for deployment of additional columns in Kalimpong and Kurseong as a precautionary measure, was received late in the night," the spokesperson added.


I am CM of the hills: Bimal Gurung


GJM chief Bimal Gurung projected himself as the "chief minister of the hills" on Friday and challenged Mamata Banerjee to stop the agitation in the area.


"As the chief minister of West Bengal she is trying to show her strength. But she must not forget that I am an elected member of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). I am the chief minister of the hills, I challenge her to stop the agitation in the hills," Gurung said.


"I will talk to the Centre, we are an ally of NDA. We will give them all the details of police atrocities on the innocent people of the hills," he said.
GJM bandh illegal: Mamata Banerjee

Calling the 12-hour bandh illegal, Mamata Banerjee said the government would take legal action against those who participate in it.


"Strike, bandh cannot be called for every other issue. This cannot be a message of peace," said Banerjee, who decided to stay put in the hills after yesterday's clash between GJM supporters and police forcing the deployment of Army here.


"Situation is still good here.. This is happening only because of a few people... Government will take legal action against them."


"Government was soft and had given them all kind of support, but now the government will be very tough after what has happened yesterday. The government will not going to tolerate all these," she said.
Bengal arranges buses for stranded tourists


The state government has arranged for a fleet of buses to evacuate thousands of tourists caught in the crossfire between the police and the Morcha supporters.


"Thousands of tourists are stranded. Our government has made arrangements for them to leave safely. I will be here till situation normalises," said Mamata Banerjee. Police will escort the buses till Siliguri to ensure safety of the tourists.


First NBSTC Bus for Kolkata today left Siliguri with 26 stranded tourists, while the second bus left with 35 such tourists. 6 buses of NBSTC along with 20 Tata sumo vehicles together under police escort have left Siliguri for Darjeeling to bring down stranded tourists. Another group of buses and vehicles left Siliguri after 10 am. Toy train has been cancelled.
More trains, special flights requested
Railways have been requested for special trains from New Jalpaiguri. Ministry of Civil Aviation has been requested for special flights.


Air India and Spicejet have announced two special flights from Bagdogra to Kolkata tomorrow for stranded passengers.. AI flight will leave at 3.40pm while Spicejet flight will leave at 6.35pm.
Medical team has been arranged at Siliguri Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus for stranded tourists coming down from hills, said transport secretary. Tourist department also released a Help desk no. is 03322100098.
(With inputs from Ei Samay)

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