Darjeeling calm on Monday, Gorkhaland coordination panel to meet on Tuesday
The current phase of unrest began on June 8, when Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters clashed with police and the administration had to seek help of the army to restore law and order. Six persons have lost their lives so far.Updated: Jul 11, 2017 00:04 IST
After three successive days of violence, Darjeeling was calm on Monday with no incidents of violence reported during the day.
However, on Sunday night, miscreants had set fire to a guest house of Ramam hydel project at Lodhama, a forest guest house at Rishihat and a gram panchayat office at Pulungdung.
West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress, meanwhile, got another jolt when their hill committee spokesperson Pravin Gurung resigned to support the movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
On Tuesday, the Gorkhaland Coordination Movement Committee will meet in Mirik to formulate the strategy for the future.
The current phase of unrest began on June 8, when Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters clashed with police and the administration had to seek help of the army to restore law and order. Six persons have lost their lives so far, allegedly to bullets fired by security forces.
“A few groups of outsiders, some of them armed, are roaming around the hills, destroying government property. Some locals are also offering them shelter,” district magistrate Joyoshi Dasgupta told HT.
Disputing her statement, GJM leader Binay Tamang claimed, “No outsider is involved in our movement.”
On Saturday, the hills lapsed back into the grip of violence as three persons were killed -- two in Darjeeling and one in Sonada, 20km from Darjeeling town.
Agitators turned Darjeeling town into a virtual battle zone setting fire to police booths, a police station, a toy train station at Sonada, government offices and fought pitched battles with the security forces. Several police and CRPF personnel were injured in the clashes.
Dasgupta said on Monday that if the agitators maintain peace, the administration can be lenient even if they don’t have permission for such gatherings. But if they turn violent, policemen indeed have the right to defend themselves.
Referring to the crisis of LPG cylinders in the hills, the district magistrate said the distributor has refused to supply unless security of the transport vehicles is ensured. The administration is carrying out checks in Siliguri to ensure alcohol is not carried up the hills.
The hills are under the grip of an indefinite bandh since June 15. Internet services have been banned since June 19.
Meanwhile, parts of national highway 10 that connects Sikkim and Siliguri through Kalimpong is in precarious condition due to incessant rainfall and landslides.
First Published: Jul 11, 2017 00:03 IST