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5 Aug 2017

Bhutan anticipates fresh unrest in bordering Jaigaon in the next few days

Bhutan anticipates fresh unrest in bordering Jaigaon in the next few daysAmitava Banerjee, Oneindia,  August 4, 2017, Darjeeling: ,Jaigaon an Indian settlement in North Bengal sharing borders with Bhutan is fast emerging as a hotspot for the Gorkhaland agitation. With landlocked Bhutan being affected by unrest in Jaigaon, the agitators have been eyeing this settlement to build pressure on the Indian Government.
The Royal Government of Bhutan anticipating political unrest and bandhs in Jaigaon in the next few days, is keeping a close tab on the situation along with adopting a contingency plan.
The main overland entrance to Bhutan is through Jaigaon in the Alipurduar district of North Bengal with the town of Phuentsholing on the Bhutan side. The Bhutan Gate separates the two countries. Bagdogra near SIliguri is the nearest Indian Airport; Hashimara the nearest railway station and Kolkata the nearest port. India offers a free flow of goods from Kolkata port to Bhutan with most of the goods coming in through Jaigaon. With the border being a friendly border people from both the countries visit each other, conduct business and border trade. An agitation is underway in the Hills of North Bengal with the demand of carving out a separate state of Gorkhaland from Bengal. Despite an indefinite bandh that hit the 51 day mark on Friday; a fast unto death that touched the 15th day; clashes between security forces and agitators that has left 8 agitators dead in alleged police firing; widespread incidents of arson and vandalizing the Centre has preferred to maintain a calculated silence. In order to create a stronger impact the agitators had recently tried to spill the agitation to the plains of Terai and Dooars. The Terai and Dooars region has a mixed demography. In the past these areas have witnessed numerous flashpoints between pro Gorkhaland and anti Gorkhaland groups. On July 30, a rally brought out by pro Gorkhaland supporters in Jaigaon in the Alipurduar district suddenly turned violent when police stopped the rally. Clashes ensued in which many persons including policemen were injured.
In case the rescued Bhutanese subjects do not hail from Phuentsholing, they will be accommodated in nearby halls and school buildings in the Bhutanese town . Offices in Phuentsholing have been asked to make internal arrangements to accommodate their staff in case of any such eventuality. Bhutanese have been asked not to venture into Jaigaon or travel during any such political unrest or bandh on the Indian side.
The Government of Bhutan, anticipating fresh trouble in Jaigaon or even bandhs in the next few days has alerted Bhutanese citizens and issued instructions. Preventive measures have been worked out and a control room opened up. Sources in Bhutan state that an administrative meeting was held in Phuentsholing on Thursday. The Government is anticipating trouble or even bandhs on August 8 and 9 tentatively in Jaigaon. The Bhutanese administration has initiated a control room with representatives of the police department, immigration and the Road Safety and Transport Authority. Necessary information would be disseminated from the control room and citizens alerted in case of any emergency. The PSA ground in Phuentsholing has been earmarked as evacuation site. All those (Bhutanese subjects) who are rescued by the police in case of any sudden incident in Jaigaon have been instructed to assemble on this ground.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has issued a deadline to the Union Government to intervene within August 8, failing which the GJM has threatened to intensify the ongoing agitation from August 9. India shares almost 700 km of border with Bhutan which includes the Indian border states of Sikkim (32 kms), West Bengal (183 kms), Assam (267 kms) and Arunachal Pradesh (217 kms.) in 1962, with the active support of Government of India, the road from Jainti and Rajabhatkhawa in North Bengal to Paro in Bhutan via Phuentsholing had opened up.
(Source & Courtesy:

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