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15 Jun 2017

Darjeeling: GJM chief's premises raided, huge cache of arms seized

TOI, Jun 15, 2017, KOLKATA: Police seized huge cache of arms during raid on premises of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung in Darjeeling on Thursday and arrested some party activists.
The party has called for an indefinite strike after the police action. Thursday may witness violence, with the GJM's youth wing Gorkha Janmukti Yuwa Morcha (GJYM) announcing a rally in the town against police lathicharge and the arrest of its members. A rally is being organised at Kalimpong in protest against the police action.
Police claimed to have seized huge cache of arms and ammunition, including bow and arrows, knives, axes and cartridges from Gurung's premises. Read this story in Bengali
GJM Central Committee has decided to call an indefinite strike from Thursday to protest police action. "We are tribals and we were about to hold our traditional archery competition. They (police) showed our traditional equipment as weapons and that's why we need Gorkhaland -- our rights, our culture, our heritage, our traditions."
"Some of the premises of Gurung and other GJM activists were raided. We conducted the raids on the basis of concrete information. The raids are still on. We have arrested a few GJM activists," a senior police official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
The police, however, denied that Gurung's residence had been raided.
"The state government is indulging in politics of witch-hunting. The police and the state government are provoking us to call an indefinite strike in the hills. We will inform the Centre about the atrocities of the state government. We have called an indefinite shutdown in hills from today," GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said.
The raids came on the fourth day of the GJM-sponsored indefinite strike in government and GTA offices in the hills. The development also came a day after Gurung said that the agitation for a separate Gorkhaland would go on till it was achieved. He had asked tourists to avoid visiting Darjeeling.
The GJM's call for a separate state of Gorkhaland gained momentum after six other hill parties extended their support to GJM and unanimously passed a resolution, demanding a separate state on Tuesday.
The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), an ally of the ruling Trinamool Congress, broke its alliance with the TMC and joined hands with the GJM for a separate state.
The Centre had despatched 600 paramilitary personnel to assist the West Bengal government in restoring normalcy in violence-hit Darjeeling hills which witnessed incidents of stone pelting during GJM-sponsored indefinite bandh.
The Centre had also sought a detailed report on the prevailing situation in the hill district from the state government.

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