Darjeeling crisis: Cops raid GJM office, Bimal Gurung hits back with bandh call

Police claimed to have recovered bows, arrows and explosives. GJM attacks Mamata Banerjee government, to press on for Gorkhaland demand.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2017 07:24 IST
Pramod Giri
Pramod Giri
Hindustan Times, Darjeeling
Darjeeling,Gorkha Janmukti Morcha,Darjeeling violence
Police personnel with bows, arrows and explosives seized from GJM office in Darjeeling on Thursday. (Bikram Sashanker/HT Photo)

Darjeeling Police raided the main office of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) near Darjeeling on Thursday, sparking a strike call that could fuel further violence in the hill town rocked by protests for a separate state.

A big team led by the police superintendent of Darjeeling, Akhilesh Chaturvedi, raided the house in Patlebas, about 5 kms away from Darjeeling town and claimed to have seize bows, arrows, sharp weapons and explosives.

Gurung does not stay here but lives close by.

Minutes later, the GJM that controls a large chunk of the hill administration, called for an indefinite strike.

“The decision to impose an indefinite bandh in the hills was taken by the party’s central committee,” said Binay Tamang, assistant secretary of GJM.

The GJM – an ally of the BJP -- and other hill parties are demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.

“The bandh is illegal. It is illegal to stockpile weapons that were found from the office of the GJM,” said Darjeeling district Trinamool Congress president and state tourism minister Gautam Deb.

Thursday’s development was a direct outcome of the chief minister’s resolve to crush the GJM agitation. “We have compromised with them. But enough is enough. We can’t compromise with a party that resorts to violence,” Mamata Banerjee said in Siliguri recently.

The building that was raided is used by Gurung as his main office. Even on Wednesday afternoon, he spoke to the media from this building.

The police raid started around 9:30 in the morning and was continuing when last reports came in. However, vehicles were plying on the streets of Darjeeling and shops and establishments opened on Thursday for business.

First Published: Jun 15, 2017 10:49 IST