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11 Jul 2017

Deb Afghan parallel

TT, Siliguri, July 10: Bengal tourism minister Gautam Deb today compared the attack on the toy train station at Sonada in the hills to the destruction of Buddha statues by the Taliban in Afghanistan's Bamiyan in 2001.
Suspected Gorkhaland supporters had on Saturday night ransacked and torched the Sonada station of the century-old Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, recognised as a world heritage property by the UNESCO.
The minister said the destruction of the station would send a wrong message to tourists and cultural activists across the world.
"The way a world heritage property of the DHR was ransacked and torched is shocking. When Buddha statues in Afghanistan were destroyed by the Taliban, it was strongly condemned across the world. I believe that considering the manner in which such a beautiful building in the hills was razed to the ground two days ago, there will be similar reactions from people across the world," Deb said.
"This heritage site is as important as the Taj Mahal. I would like to appeal to all to refrain from destroying such heritage property," the minister added.
Deb also took a dig at the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha for rejecting chief minister Mamata Banerjee's proposal for talks.
"The chief minister's proposal showed that the state government is keen on finding a solution with a positive mindset. It is necessary to end the ongoing impasse in the hills. But unfortunately, they (Morcha leaders) have been putting too many pre-conditions for holding any dialogue. This is unacceptable," he said.

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