The bandh called today by Gorkha Vidyarthi Morcha,the students wing of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha spearheading the movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland, saw the Hills up in flames as angry Morcha activists set ablaze the house of Shanta Chhetri,the local MLA at Kurseong,besides torching several vehicles.
Chhetri had to face the Morchas wrath even though she has switched loyalty from the GNLF to GJM.
The bandh was called in protest against the administrations refusal to allow the Morcha to hold a rally at Siliguri.
The activists also torched vehicles of Kurseong SDPO and the inspector in-charge of Kurseong police station,besides two other police vehicles. They also ransacked Kurseong police station.
In Kolkata,Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said: I have heard about the burning down of Shanta Chhetris house. I have given instructions that violence has to be contained.
Chhetri,who was not in her house when the incident took place,said: Here the administration has withered away. Now,may God only save the Hills.
Today,the violence sparked off in the morning when activists blocked roads near Siliguri. As the police detained about 66 of them,word spread that Morcha activists have been arrested in large numbers. Soon,Morcha activists surrounded police stations in Darjeeling and dispersed only when the police told them their colleagues were just detained and released later. Morcha activists at Kurseong,however,continued with their agitation and indulged in arson.
The GJM has called for a bandh on Friday for two hours from 10 am to 12 noon in protest against the killing of EFR jawans at Silda.
States Minister for Urban Development Ashok Bhattacharya said in Kolkata: Its the Morcha which used to hobnob with Maoists leaders like Chhatradhar Mahato. And now they are shedding tears for EFR jawans. I have requested the home secretary and the DGP to send more forces to the Hills.