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14 Jul 2017

Gautam Deb not allowed to enter Panighatta to observe Bhanu Jayanti

Prashant Acharya, EOI, PANIGHATTA (MIRIK), 13 Jul 2017: Tension ran high throughout the day at Panighatta under Mirik as Gorkhaland supporters in huge numbers blocked the road with boulders and burning tyres to prevent North Bengal tourism minister Gautam Deb to enter Panighatta bazar.
More than five thousand supporters from GJM, GNLF, JAP and CPRM gathered at 4 number section of Panighatta Tea Estate after they received information that minister along with huge police force is proceeding Panighatta via Bagdogra route to observe 203rd birth anniversary of Nepali poet Bhanu Bhakta Acharya.
As soon as the minister reached near the 4 number section just next to Panighatta forest, supporters started hurling stones on the convoy. Minister alighted from the vehicle, watches the situation and then returned back from the area.
Minister then placed the poet’s photo frame on a chair at 5 number section of Tea Estate just two kilometres away from the trouble area and honoured him by offering a garland, secondly he observed at Kadma More some five kilometres away from Panighatta and while returning back to Siliguri he organised another programme at Tirhannah Tea Estate near Bengdubi Army cantonment where poet’s birth anniversary was observed with Nepali and Adivashi cultural dances.
Minister said, “We observe the birth anniversary of Bhanu Bhakta every year as chief minister herself takes part and last year she had organised a similar programme in Darjeeling. Today I had planned to observe the birth anniversary at Panighatta but they did not allow me to go. Seeing the abnormal situation I returned back as we do not want to confront with agitators. I had gone to observe Bhanu Jayanti in one programme but on returning observed three times in the surrounding areas.
Brinda Kumar Pradhan, central committee member of GJM said, “Minister Gautam Deb had intentionally planned to visit Panighatta to disturb the peace and to kill more people in plains after killing of eight in hills. We had announced a day back about observing Bhanu Jayanti and march Khukuri Rally here but minister wants to disturb us by bringing huge police force. Why did he choose Panighatta as there is no statue here, he could have celebrated in Naxalbari where statue has been established.”
He further warned Bengal ministers not to think about visiting hills before their demand is fulfilled.
Later the supporters holding ‘Khukuri’, Sickle and other traditional weapons demonstrated and shouted slogans against state government.
Furious supporters vandalised four police vehicles, tried to attack police out post but the situation was soon taken under controlled after senior leaders asked the youth wing not to turn violent.
The crowd then assembled near Panighatta High School to celebrate Bhanu Jayanti.

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