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17 Jun 2017

Darjeeling tense, govt buildings set ablaze

Darjeeling tense, govt buildings set ablazeAmitava Banerjee | MP | 16 Jun 2017 | Darjeeling: The second day of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's indefinite bandh passed off by and large peacefully except for sporadic incidents of arson.

A healthcentre was torched along with an office of the Rammam Hydel project at Lhodhama. Pahaligaon school was torched in Mirik. The Panchayat office at Bom Bustee in Kalimpong was also set ablaze. Attempts were made to torch the forest guard quarters at Tarkhola on the National Highway 10 but timely intervention of the police prevented it.

In Darjeeling, TMC supporters alleged that they are being witch-hunted.

"There are 11 families in Tukvar near Patleybash. Their houses have been gheraoed, vandalised and they have been driven out from their homes," claimed Sarda Chettri, TMC leader, Darjeeling. Sahdeb Mukhia, president of the TMC unit, Tukvar, stated: "On Thursday, the GJM supporters gheraoed my house. They manhandled me and even vandalised my house. Along with four others of my family I escaped and am staying at the TMC party office in Darjeeling." He had crossed over from the GJM to TMC a year ago. "We have lodged an FIR at the Darjeeling Sadar police station," stated Mukhia.

The three GJM MLA's met Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and submitted a memorandum. They have demanded that the Centre hold tripartite talks over Gorkhaland.

Jan Andolan Party (JAP) on Friday came out on the streets of Kalimpong with the demand of Gorkhaland. "We have written a letter to Amit Shah, president, BJP to initiate steps for Gorkhaland," stated Harka Bahadur Chettri, president, JAP. The letter states that the people of the Hills had voted for BJP candidates Jaswant Singh in the 2009 Parliamentary elections and again for BJP candidate S S Ahluwalia in 2014 on the BJP's assurance to sympathetically consider Gorkhaland through the BJP election manifestos. "The time has come for the BJP to make good their promise," stated the letter. JAP has asked the BJP to take a formal political resolution supporting the creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland. "We are supporters of Gorkhaland and will join the collective movement for Gorkhaland provided GJM unilaterally withdraws from GTA and ask the three GJM MLAs to resign from the Bengal Assembly," added Chettri.

The GNLF on Friday mounted pressure on the GJM and asked them to walk the lines of collective movement where decisions for the Gorkhaland movement will be taken collectively. "We appeal to the Centre government that all the pro-Gorkhaland forces should be invited to talks for the formation of a separate state and there should not be a single party representing the entire Gorkha community of India. As it is a collective movement all should be invited," stated Sandeep Limbu, GNLF leader.

The GNLF also reminded the Morcha of the conditions for their support including unilateral withdrawal from the GTA; resignation of the GJM MLAs and all the GJM Municipal Councillors of the four Hill Municipalities. "We hope that good sense will prevail and we will get a positive response at the second all party meeting for Gorkhaland," added Limbu.

The GJM leaders including Bimal Gurung remained inconspicuous throughout the day. The arms and paramilitary forces were deployed at Singamari and Patleybash, the GJM stronghold. GJM sources stated that they have asked all their supporters from all over the Hills, Terai and Dooars to launch padyatras to Patleybash located 6 km from Darjeeling.

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