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9 Jul 2017

Worst violence in Hills: Three killed, toy train station set ablaze in Darjeeling

Policemen walk pass the train station set alight.
Deep Gazmer| TNN |  Jul 9, 2017, DARJEELING: In the worst violence since the beginning of the current unrest over Gorkhaland, three persons were killed in alleged police firing in Darjeeling and the Sonada toy train station set on fire, prompting Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Saturday to appeal for peace and offer talks with the Hills parties.
The Sonada station, along with a local police station and a traffic police booth, was set ablaze by demonstrators after the death of Tashi Bhutia, a Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) supporter, late on Friday evening. The Chawkbazar and Motor Stand areas in the heart of Darjeeling turned into a war zone as GNLF and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) workers tried to march with Bhutia's body to Sadar Hospital for an autopsy on Saturday. In the ensuing clash with police, Suraj Soondas, 35, died of bullet injuries.

The violence continued even as the procession moved downhill towards Singmari and Patlewas, where the GJM's party office is located. In another clash with cops, a person identified as Samir Subba was killed near Singmari. An unidentified person was injured.
The violence at Sonada railway station spread to Darjeeling town, with Gorkhaland supporters clashing with cops at the taxi stand at Chawrasta. After Soondas' death, matters went out of control with a mob setting fire to police vehicles and vandalizing police kiosks. One of the vehicles set ablaze was parked at the district magistrate's office. CCTV cameras along Hill Cart Road and Lebong Cart Road were damaged. The mob also vandalized the office of DSP (town) and one belonging to the supplies department. TMC office at Judgebazar was also torched.
The Army was finally called out around 3pm. While one column moved to Sonada, the other remained at Darjeeling.
The violence at Sonada railway station spread to Darjeeling town, with Gorkhaland supporters clashing with cops at the taxi stand at Chawrasta. After Soondas' death, matters went out of control with a mob setting fire to police vehicles and vandalizing police kiosks. One of the vehicles set ablaze was parked at the district magistrate's office. CCTV cameras along Hill Cart Road and Lebong Cart Road were damaged. The mob also vandalized the office of DSP (town) and one belonging to the supplies department. TMC office at Judgebazar was also torched.
The Army was finally called out around 3pm. While one column moved to Sonada, the other remained at Darjeeling.

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