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11 Jul 2017

Darjeeling crisis: Funeral rallies held amid tight security

Darjeeling crisis: Funeral rallies held amid tight securityMP |  10 July 2017 |  Darjeeling: Funeral processions of Gorkhaland activists who died in alleged police firing were taken out in Darjeeling under the watchful eyes of the Army on Sunday. 
The day saw sporadic incidents of arson and vandalism in the Hills. While the funeral procession of Suraj Bhusal was brought out from Toonsoong, the funeral procession of Samir Gurung was brought out from Singamari. 
Both the processions converged at the Chowrasta and went down to the Chowk Bazar.

The usual deployment of police force and CRPF was not done at the Chowk Bazar on Sunday. 
Instead an Army column was deployed at the Chowk Bazar at the time of the funeral procession. Presence of police and CRPF could aggravate agitators hence the non-deployment during the processions, feel observers. 
"I have spoken to Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling regarding the security situation in the state and areas in neighbouring Bengal. I assured him that the Centre will ensure the safety and security of NH-10 and do everything possible to save people of the state from any misery," tweeted Union Home minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday.
Sunday marked the 25th day of the ongoing indefinite bandh clamped by the GJM in the Darjeeling. At around 2.30 pm the Sonada police outpost was torched. 
The outpost was razed to the ground. On Saturday, trouble broke out at Sonada over the death of one Tashi Bhutia in alleged CRPF firing. The SDO and BDO offices in Kurseong were also torched. 
A forest department lodge at Gairigaon in Kurseong was set on fire too. The Gram Panchayat office in Pokriabong in Darjeeling sub-division was torched. 
The police outpost in Thorbu near Mirik was ransacked and torched. A police outpost was also attacked and ransacked at Sukhiapokhari in Darjeeling. 
Around four policemen who were present in the outpost were also injured. 
In another development, the meeting of the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GLMCC) will be held on July 11 instead of July 18 in Mirik. 
"We will review the present political situation including the police firing that left three Gorkhaland supporters dead. We will also decide on the future course of action regarding the stopping of supplies from the plains to Darjeeling Hills, Kalimpong and Sikkim," alleged Kalyan Dewan, Coordinator, GLMCC. 
Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has pledged support to the Gorkhaland demand. "Sharad Pawar of the NCP has pledged support to the Gorkhaland demand too. If Gorkhaland Bill is tabled in Parliament the NCP MPs will support it," claimed Binay Tamang, assistant secretary, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

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