Indefinite shutdown paralyses Darjeeling

Indefinite shutdown paralyses Darjeeling

Even as the troubled Darjeeling district administration held a three-hour long meeting with the top leadership of Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) to hammer a way out of the current impasse, six more forest bungalows were set afire by the agitating GJM supporters taking the total number of forest beat offices and bungalows torched over the last 24 hours in the area to 42. Property worth more than Rs 8 crore have been destroyed in the arson that followed the GJM protest.

Judicial probe

The meeting between the GJM representatives and administration remained inconclusive as the former rejected the administration request to call off their indefinite bundh. The Morcha insisted on a judicial probe into the police firing on its three supporters, killed in the incident.

Nearly three thousand GJM supporters were on a relay hunger strike since January 29 at Sipchu a Darjeeling-Jalpaiguri border demanding inclusion of parts of Jalpaiguri in the proposed State of Gorkhaland. A GJM leader said that there was no provocation for the police to open fire on the peaceful protesters.

Life in the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling and parts of the Dooars plains in North Bengal was thrown out of gear in the wake of an indefinite-bundh call given by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) in protest against the death of its three supporters in police firing. 

The BSF and CRPF personnel along with state police, meanwhile, patrolled the troubled parts of the hill districts as shops remained closed and roads were deserted in three subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong. Barring sporadic incidents of torching, there were no reports of any untoward incident.