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17 Jul 2017

On 32nd day of Darjeeling stir: Two CRPF companies arrive

MP |  2017-07-16  |  Darjeeling: The security forces stayed on high alert on Sunday in the Darjeeling hills which remained incident-free on the 32nd day of the GJM-sponsored indefinite shutdown for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
Meanwhile, as per the court orders, two companies of the CRPF reached in the Hills on Sunday while two more would be arriving in Darjeeling on Monday. The Calcutta High Court on July 14 had asked the Centre to provide four additional companies of CRPF within 48 hours in Darjeeling to maintain law and order.
"Two companies of CRPF arrived in the hills today and two more will be arriving by tomorrow (Monday) morning," Darjeeling Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Kumar Chaturvedi said.
Eleven companies of CRPF have already been stationed in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts. 
A report from neighbouring Jalpaiguri district said that the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha started a relay hunger strike at Birpara on Sunday demanding Gorkhaland state. The GJM's women cell also sat on a hunger strike at Jaigaon in the same district, district administration sources said. 
GJM supremo Bimal Gurung on Sunday night had warned that the agitation would turn 'terrible' in the coming days. "The agitation which has been going on for over a month now will turn terrible and it will be a decisive battle for our independence," Gurung had told reporters here last (Sunday) night. 
"If I need to shed my blood, I am ready to do that, but the fight will go on till Gorkhaland is achieved," Gurung said. The Army was deployed in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sonada and police and security forces were patrolling the streets of the Hills, which saw rallies being taken out by GJM supporters at Chowkbazar demanding a separate state. The ban on Internet, which was imposed on June 18, has been extended till July 25 by the district administration on Saturday. 
Except pharmacy, all the other shops, restaurants, hotels, schools and colleges remained closed. With the food supply severely hit due to the ongoing shutdown, GJM activists and NGOs of the Hills were seen distributing food items among the people.
The authorities of St Joseph's College located in Singamari complained that the CRPF forcefully set up camp in the College premises. "This is a private college and we have not given permission for the CRPF to camp in our premises," stated Father Jose of St
Joseph's College. Joyoshi Dasgupta, District Magistrate, Darjeeling, stated: "The property has been requisitioned. The college is closed. As soon as the college opens up, we will remove the CRPF from the premises." The day saw a cultural rally in Darjeeling and a Khukuri rally in Kurseong. Singers, musicians took out a rally in Darjeeling singing songs in support of Gorkhaland. Teachers also took out a silent rally in Darjeeling. There was an incident of arson at the Forest Training School in Kurseong. Forest lodges at Sitong and Garidhura were also torched.

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