Darjeeling crisis: Miscreants mount attacks on govt properties in the dark
Even as the situation in Darjeeking continues to be tense, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has have called for its version of Dandi March to protest a police raid on its office.india Updated: Jun 17, 2017 09:56 IST
For the second successive time this week miscreants struck at the dead of the night to vandalise and ablaze government properties around Darjeeling as the demand for a separate state continued to roil the hill station.
On Saturday around 1 am, suspected Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters set fire to Goke II gram panchayat office under Bijanbari block about 25 km away from Darjeeling. The first floor of the building was completely gutted.
The attack came after a relative quiet day in the hills.
Local Trinamool leaders told HT that on Friday night Morcha supporters set up roadblocks on two roads that connect Gok with Darjeeling.
On Saturday morning, GJM protesters have planned to take out a ‘Dandi march’ on the lines of the one that Mahatma Gandhi undertook in 1930. The rallies are supposed to start from different points of Darjeeling and converge at the GJM office at Patlaybas that the police raided on Thursday.
Police are unlikely to allow the protest rallies because the situation is already tense.
Most GJM leaders are still in hiding to evade arrest.
On Saturday morning the hills remained completely shutdown, the third day of the indefinite bandh called by the GJM after the police raided their office on Thursday.
Binay Tamang, assistant secretary of GJM said that on the intervening might of Friday-Saturday, police arrested Vikram Rai, who worked as the media executive of the semi-autonomous body Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). He is the son of Darjeeling MLA Amar Singh Rai.
Tamang also accused the police of vandalizing his own house at Bloomfield near Darjeeling district police headquarters.
On Thursday night, miscreants had tried to destroy a number of establishments including a toy train station, an electricity supply office and even a health centre attached to state-owned Ramam hydel power station at Lodhama, 70 km away from Darjeeling.
Violent protesters also set fire to Ghayabari railway station of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a World Heritage item popularly known as the toy train, but local people managed to douse the fire, officials said. The station is 31 km from Siliguri.
Miscreants also set fire to a panchayat building in Mirik around 2 am on Friday. Incidentally, Trinamool won the civic polls in Mirik last month.