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10 Jul 2017

Hills burn, TMC vows to prevent Bengal division

TNN | Jul 10, 2017, DARJEELING: Sporadic violence and arson, which has kept Darjeeling on the boil for the last 25 days, continued unabated on Sunday with marching Army columns keeping a close watch on funeral rallies in Darjeeling and Sonada taken out by GJM and GNLF, on a day the ruling Trinamool vowed to "give our life and blood" but not to allow Bengal to be divided.
"What they [the agitators] are doing is undemocratic and condemnable," said Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee. "It is obvious that some foreign countries close to GJM are influencing the agitation. We will give our life and blood but won't allow the division of Bengal. They are only causing problems for the people."
A huge mob set ablaze a BDO office and a police camp at Pokribong, injuring four police personnel. Firearms were also looted, said cops.
Agitators also torched the Pokhribing panchayat office and set ablaze the sub-divisional office at Kurseong, partially destroying the building. The protesters attacked the Sonada police station and torched a part of it, in the second such attack in two days.
GJM activists took out a rally at Chowkbazar with the bodies of Suraj Sundas and Sameer Subba, who were allegedly killed in police firing. The GNLF, on its part, took out a procession at Sonada with the body of Tashi Bhutia who, too, was allegedly killed in police firing. "We took out two funeral rallies in Darjeeling Bazar area and one more rally in Sonada to pay our last tribute to the three Gorkha brothers who were killed on Saturday. We do not have any arms with us. The arms are with police. So it is obvious that the shots were fired by them," said GJM assistant general-secretary Binay Tamang. The police said they hadn't fired a "single shot".
Amid the continuing political diatribe between GJM and the ruling Trinamool Congress during the day, the GJM brought forward the all-party meeting to Tuesday. The meeting had originally been scheduled on July 18. "The events on Saturday forced this emergency meeting. There are also reports that food-laden trucks are being stopped from entering the Hills at Siliguri by police and Trinamool cadres," said Kalyan Diwan, convener, Gorkhaland Movement Cordination Committee. "The meeting is re-scheduled due to the current situation in the Darjeeling Hills," Tamang added.
Setting the tone of the meeting, GJM president Bimal Gurung in a press release demanded a CBI inquiry into the deaths. To rile the Mamata Banerjee government, the release also claimed that the Sharad Pawar-led NCP has extended its support to the Gorkhaland agitators. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, only a day previously, had appealed to the agitators to shun violence and resume talks. GJM general-secretary Roshan Giri said they were ready for talks, but only with the Centre.
(Source & Courtesy: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/hills-burn-tmc-vows-to-prevent-bengal-division/articleshow/59519813.cms)

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