Day 1 of bandh peaceful,Hills brace for the next

Following the 24-hour bandh call by the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad,the area remained shut down on Friday.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: February 7, 2009 1:19 am

Terai and Dooars are prepared for a long,unproductive weekend.

Following the 24-hour bandh call by the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad,the area remained shut down on Friday. On Saturday,the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha will be enforcing its day-long bandh.

The tribal organisation had called the bandh to protest against Thursday’s police action against a rioting mob. Four persons were injured in the clash.

Jalpaiguri district administration officials said shops,business establishments,schools and colleges remained shut in Dooars. The arterial NH-31 which links North and South Bengal was blockaded at Ghosepukur.

Vehicles,too,mostly stayed off the roads. Attendance in government offices was negligible,said Jalpaiguri District Magistrate Vandana Yadav.

Life was also affected in Terai — covering Bagdogra and Naxalbari in Siliguri sub-division in Darjeeling district — included in the purview of the bandh following a late-evening meeting on Thursday. That area,too,bore a deserted look.

The joint secretary of the Parishad,Rajesh Lakra,said the bandh met with widespread response.

“Four Parishad members were seriously injured in the police firing. One of them,Kailash Singh is in a critical condition at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital,” Lakra said.

The police,however,maintained that only rubber bullets were fired and not real ones,as claimed by the Parishad.

On Thursday,the Parishad supporters surrounded the Nagrakata police station and torched a part of the station premises,protesting against the arrest of four of their leaders the previous night. In a bid to disperse the mob,police used rubber bullets and tear gas shells.

Inspector General of Police (North Bengal),K L Tamta said there was no untoward incident centering the bandh. “Security arrangements had been made to maintain law and order,” Tamta said.

The CPM’s Jalpaiguri district committee,meanwhile,sent a report to the party headquarters over the situation in the Dooars. According to sources,the report said the violence was being perpetrated at the instance of Trinamool Congress and the BJP. The party’s state secretariat also took note of the situation during its meeting today,sources said.

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