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14 Jun 2017

Twin bandhs disrupt everyday activities in Darjeeling

Twin bandhs disrupt everyday activities in DarjeelingAmitava Banerjee | MP | 14 Jun 2017 | Darjeeling: Darjeeling witnessed two bandhs on Tuesday. On one side, it was the indefinite office bandh call by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the other was a 12-hour general strike by a conglomeration of 26 tea trade unions demanding the implementation of minimum wages.
Keshari Nath Tripathi, Governor of Bengal, dubbed the ongoing strife in Darjeeling as "unfortunate."
"A solution has to be found out at the earliest. All concerned parties should sit together to work out a solution," suggested the Governor in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Though no Morcha picketers were present on the streets of Darjeeling on Monday which was the first day of the indefinite office bandh, Tuesday was different. There were multiple Morcha rallies seen on the streets.

At around 11.15 am, a Morcha rally, after marching on the streets of Darjeeling, arrived at the Darjeeling Bus Stand. The rally started moving towards the Darjeeling District Collectorate. A large police team led by top cops arrived at the stop and asked the rally to return and stopped them for going towards the Collectorate which led to some of the agitators squatting on the road. At that point the police resorted to baton charge. "There were incidents of stone pelting and we were compelled to drive away the crowd," stated Akhilesh Chaturvedi, Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling.

From the bus stand, the focal point of the agitation then shifted to Singamari, the GJM stronghold on the outskirts of Darjeeling town.

A Morcha rally tried to move towards the town and were stopped by security forces led by top cops including Siddhi Nath Gupta (ADG& IGP,) Jawed Shamim (IGP) along with the SP.
The CRPF was also present on the scene along with the Army. A status quo ensued with the police barricading the demonstrators and the latter resorting to pro-Gorkhaland slogans. This continued till the protestors turned back.
Another rally was stopped by the police near Darjeeling Zoo. In Kurseong, tourist vehicles going down to Siliguri were stopped by Morcha supporters. The tourists were forced to discontinue their journey and take up hotel rooms. However, police intervened and escorted them out.
In another incident, the GJM supporters stopped state buses plying from Siliguri to Darjeeling in Kurseong. The buses were later escorted out by the cops.

There were incidents of stone pelting at state buses at Zero Point near Kurseong. Two persons, identified as Amit Pradhan and Hemant Subba, were arrested from Kurseong for stopping the buses.

In Darjeeling, three persons namely Rajesh Pradhan, Lokesh Thapa and Milan Thapa were arrested from their residences on Monday morning in connection with rioting and arson in Darjeeling on June 8.

GTA elected member and GJM central committee member Satish Pokhrel who had been arrested on Monday evening from his residence in Bijanbari was produced at a Darjeeling court on Tuesday. He has been remanded to police custody for five days.

"The situation is under control. We are keeping close watches on everything," stated Joyoshi Das Gupta, District Magistrate, Darjeeling.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said at Nabanna in Kolkata on Tuesday that situation in the Hills was under control and the police were doing their job in the most appropriate manner.
It maybe mentioned that the Chief Minister had stayed back in Darjeeling to monitor the recent unrest herself.

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