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14 Jul 2017

Minister's convoy attacked, railway stn set ablaze

MinisterMP |  13 July 2017 |  Darjeeling : Amidst the ongoing indefinite bandh, the 203rd birth anniversary of Nepali poet Acharya Bhanubhakta was commemorated in the Hills on Thursday. 
Bengal Tourism minister Goutam Deb was prevented from observing Bhanujayanti at Panighatta on Thursday. The Hill residents declared that they are returning the state government awards as a mark of protest and in support of the demand for Gorkhaland. 
Deb had visited Panighatta in Mirik sub-division to observe Bhanujayanti. However, 2 km away from Panighatta, roadblocks were put up by Gorkhaland supporters. "They attacked our convoy and even pelted stones in an attempt to prevent us from observing Bhanujayanti. We placed photographs of the poet on the side of the road and garlanded them," stated Deb.
After Deb's convoy had left, pro-Gorkhaland supporters vandalised Panighatta police outpost and damaged a police vehicle as well. "The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha does not have anything to do with this," claimed GJM general secretary Roshan Giri.
Alleging that the Central government is influencing the Gorkhaland movement in the Hills, Deb said that the Centre is not providing necessary support to the state as per the federal structure. 
"The Central government is influencing the movement for separate Gorkhaland. We have no hesitation in saying that they are not providing the necessary support to the state government under the federal structure," he said. 
Minister"The state has repeatedly asked for more Army deployment in the violence-stricken regions in the Hills, but the Centre is neglecting the state government's rightful demand," he alleged. 
Deb also accused Darjeeling MP and central minister S S Ahluwalia of supporting the ongoing "vengeful agitation" in Darjeeling and said it was unfortunate that the Centre was not condemning repeated incidents of arson in the region. 
"The local MP, also a central minister, is clearly supporting the movement. It is unfortunate that the Central government is not condemning the vengeful agitation in the region," Deb said. 
Bhanujayanti was commemorated at the Darjeeling Chowrasta. On the occasion, eminent literary figure from the Hills Krishna Singh Moktan declared that he is returning the Bhanupuraskar bestowed upon him by the state government for excellence in literature; Dr Pravat Pradhan his Siksha Ratna Award and Karma Yonzon his Sangeet Award. "These are decorative pieces awarded by the state government. We are returning the awards in support of Gorkhaland," stated Moktan. 
Acharya Bhanubhakta was born in 1841 in Western Nepal. His important works include the translation of the Ramayana into Nepali. 
On the other hand, the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee has postponed the fast-unto-death scheduled to commence on July 15. 
Meanwhile, Chunchun Bhutia, the lone Trinamool Congress Councillor of the Darjeeling Municipality resigned on Thursday. He is scheduled to join the GJM. From the wee hours of the morning, there were reports of arson from all over the Hills. The Tourism Information office of the GTA was torched at the Chowrasta. The beat office of the forest department along with the officer's quarter and staff quarters were torched at Selimong. The Forest Rest House was torched at Teesta. 
A railway station at Gayabari area of Kurseong was set on fire on Thursday morning. As many as 10 goods vehicles carrying supplies to Sikkim were vandalised and the drivers roughed up by masked youth at Tarkhola on the National Highway 10 near the Sikkim state border Rongpu. The house of Sanjay Moktan, chairman of the Tamang Development and Cultural Board, was set on fire in Kalimpong. The Revenue Inspector's office was set ablaze at Sukna. 
(EOI: The R.I. office that is attached to Sukna Gram panchayat office near Siliguri was set ablaze on Wednesday night by an unidentified mob.
As per the locals, the office was set on fire around 9 pm on Wednesday. On discovering the burning building, the people tried to put the fire out themselves.
The locals succeeded in extinguishing the fire but all the furniture inside the office had been damaged till then.
After the incident, the people alleged that no police picketing was ordered in the area for their security.)

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