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3 Aug 2017

Vehicles smashed, set afire in hills

TT, Calcutta, Aug. 2: Fresh incidents of arson and vandalism occurred in the hills in the past 24 hours as the indefinite strike entered its 49th day today.
A truck of a courier company returning from Sikkim to Siliguri was torched at 27th Mile near Kalimpong on NH10 today.
While masked men ransacked a car near Darjeeling and stole cash and food grain meant for a funeral, an SUV was set alight at the railway station in the hill town.
Both the attacks in Darjeeling happened in a span of a few hours last night.
Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha, said: "Some anti-socials seem to be taking advantage of the present situation. We request people who are travelling to take contact numbers of Morcha leaders and immediately inform us about such incidents so that we can send our supporters and identify such anti-socials."
The vandalism of the car and the looting by the masked men took place near Jorebungalow.
The SUV burnt near Darjeeling railway station; and the car (right) vandalised at Jorebungalow. Pictures by Passang Yolmo
"Three men wearing masks stopped our car near the Jorebungalow forest area around 9 pm yesterday. They said they were patrolling the area on the instructions of Bimal Gurung (the president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha)," said Pranay Raimajhi, a resident of Bhakta Busty in Darjeeling, who was travelling in the car with his friend.
Since the duo had gone to Siliguri to get food grains and essentials meant for a funeral, Tilak Chand Roka, a central committee member of the Morcha, had issued them a written travel permission.
"We showed them the letters issued by the Morcha and a local community group. But the masked men tore the papers," said Raimajhi.
Soon, around 20 men dressed in black and wearing masks emerged from the forest wielding sharp weapons and surrounded the vehicle.
"They snatched our pouch, two cellphones and about Rs 19,000 in cash. The attackers took away all the food items in the car which were worth around Rs 10,000. The windscreens and window glasses of my car were smashed," said Raimajhi.
He met Morcha leaders today to apprise them of the incident.
"I decided to meet Morcha leaders as before leaving, the attackers said we seemed to be from the party and were given permission to travel. They said Bimal Gurung couldn't achieve anything as he is on the run," he said.
According to Raimajhi, the vandals said Gurung would not be spared either.
Another group of masked men torched an SUV near the Darjeeling railway station around 11pm.
The car was loaded with edibles, including fish and poultry. The attackers didn't take away the edibles.
About a fortnight back, a senior citizen was hit on the head by alleged drug addicts when he had gone to Chowrastha in Darjeeling at night to collect vegetables sent by his son from Siliguri.
A few days later, he succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Sikkim.
In another development, Morcha leaders in the Dooars today said they would resume their movement if police did not allow women supporters to re-launch the relay hunger strike at Jaigaon. Supporters of the Nari Morcha had been holding the relay hunger strike for over a week in Manglabari of Jaigaon.
But on Sunday, the police dismantled the venue of the fast in the wake of violence in the town on the Bhutan border.
"We will submit a letter to local police tomorrow, seeking permission to resume the relay hunger strike. If the police do not give permission within 48 hours, we will resume our movement. I would prefer not to elaborate on the movement now," Ashok Lama, the vice-president of the Dooars committee of the Morcha, said.

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