Darjeeling turmoil: Govt offices vandalised on day 1 of GJM bandh; CM Mamata urges people not to listen to protesters

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which controls the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, has been pressing demand for a separate state of 'Gorkhaland' and for that it has called an indefinite shutdown of all state and GTA offices. 

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 13, 2017 9:30 pm
Darjeeling, Darjeeling agitation, Darjeeling protests, west bengal, mamata banerjee, gorkhaland, gorkhaland state, india news, west bengal news, indian express A woman passes by Darjeeling DM office with her daughter where a huge security was posted due to GJM shut down call on June 12, 2017. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

In the wake of the ongoing turmoil in the northern West Bengal hills, Gorkhaland supporters on Monday vandalised government offices in Darjeeling as the GJM-sponsored indefinite bandh (shutdown) kept tourists out of the picturesque hill station owing to the threat of violence. On the opening day of the shutdown, suspected GJM activists caused damage to a panchayat office and a PWD office in the hill and did picketing at some places in Kurseong and Kalimpong. The agitating protesters also burnt down furniture, smashed window panes and broke computers at the PWD office in Darjeeling. Police said eight GJM activists were detained for allegedly attempting to set ablaze the Block Development Office at Phulbazar in Bijanbari block.

Hotels, transport and markets have been kept out of the purview of the agitation considering tourism plays a pertinent role in the economy of the Darjeeling hills. However, several hotels remained closed due to the apprehension of violence.

There were also indications that agitation is unlikely to ease in the coming days, with GJM president Bimal Gurung saying,”It’s better if the tourists leave as the situation is deteriorating.” The local administration, however, claimed the situation was “normal”.

Reflecting on the incident, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri denied his party’s involvement in vandalising government properties. However, he claimed the response to the “appeal” for the shutdown was “good”. “We could have enforced the bandh but we have not done that. We only appealed to the people,” he said, while rejecting the state government’s assertion that cent per cent attendance was recorded.

Monks entering into Darjeeling DM office where a huge security was posted due to GJM shut down call on June 12, 2017. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

Why is GJM protesting ? 

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which controls the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), has been pressing the demand for a separate state of ‘Gorkhaland’ and for that, it has called a shutdown of all state and GTA offices.

The present round of movement got intensified after the Mamata Banerjee-led government decided to make Bengali mandatory up to class 10 in the hills. Despite the GJM calling a bandh, the state government claimed that offices registered “normal” attendance in the hills. “The people have defied GJM’s diktat and attended office. We hope good sense will prevail on the GJM leadership,” state tourism minister Gautam Deb said.

Also Read: Tracing the history of Gorkhaland movement: Another crisis triggered by language

Earlier, the state government had ordered all its employees to attend office during the bandh period and also warned that absence from work would be considered as a break in service. Meanwhile, the GJM leadership described the government measure as an “encroachment” on their distinct Nepali identity and culture.

Employees at the Establishment Section , in treasury building ( Defence pension and Civil pension) inside the compound of DM office, hide their faces in front of camera not to be identified on June 12, 2017. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

Last Thursday, the agitation had turned violent as GJM supporters clashed with police when they tried to break the barricades before police restored to lathicharge. The GJM supporters had damaged police vehicles and set some of them ablaze as a cabinet meeting was on at the Raj Bhawan. The Army had to be called out in Darjeeling to restore peace the following day.

CM Mamata Banerjee’s response to GJM agitation

Urging the people of Darjeeling not to pay heed to GJM leaders, the Chief Minister said, “They will throw a few bombs and leave. The people in the hills are good and they will continue to stay there. Remember the goons cannot be assets to the nation.”

Locals passes by Darjeeling DM office where a huge security was posted due to GJM shut down call on June 12, 2017. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

Responding to GJM’s threat that it would show black flags if she visits the hill, Banerjee firmly said she never get scared if someone threatens her. “I know how to respond to the challenge. They (GJM) have challenged me saying that I will not be allowed to enter the area. But I had gone there and held a cabinet meeting and brought back peace. After that I returned,” she said.

With inputs from PTI

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  1. G
    Gopal Das
    Jun 13, 2017 at 10:13 pm
    These GJM first had problems with Left Front, they conspired with Trinamul against Left front and now they are against Trinamul. They will receive the same fate as that of in Kashmir. They will be appropriately served by army.
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      Anil saxena
      Jun 13, 2017 at 10:10 am
      Very bold and stern lady after Indira hi. We need such type of leadership to face such type of goons.
      Reply
      1. K
        Karma Tshering
        Jun 13, 2017 at 6:50 am
        You can get a seperate state called Darjee as the name is powerful.. If you want Gorkaland > It comes under British forces called Gorka and even if you want to dig deeper into Gorka. They is a place in Nepal called Gor nd. Everyone should ask for separate state and it should be called Darjee . Name is powerful and recognized all over the world!!. Only BJP can give darjee separate state. To put Didi in her place!!!
        Reply
        1. M
          Mahender.Goriganti
          Jun 13, 2017 at 3:22 am
          Good job GJM .Mamta didi and Trinamul Congress should be destro . She is a fake bachelor unlike our Shri Bagawatji. I really don't know why RAW has not sabotaged her yet like it did with the the Bengali Communists.She should go out and pave way for BJP.
          Reply
          1. M
            Michelle:Vedic:Human
            Jun 13, 2017 at 3:28 am
            Pranam Mahender ji. Don't worry. Actually it is RAW that is doing this. Our senior brahmins will definitely ensure she is out. Won't she fly even once in a helicopter. They will ensure she goes the way Dorjee Kandu, Rajashekar Reddy, Madavrao Scindia, Balayogi went in helicopters.
            Reply
          2. A
            Azazwl
            Jun 13, 2017 at 3:06 am
            Gorkhas and GJM of India unite and rebel against the Indian state. It's time for GJM to take up stones arms lathis and rebel against the Indian army. All the GJMs should March towards Srinagar and fight with the Indian army in their genocide and oppression towards Kashmiri Muslims . Let's break up India into small state of Nagpur only and capture all the Hindu bunyas and Brahmins. Let's make Modi a dog of Muslims and take revenge for the genocide of 2002 and 1992 and 1984 from the filthy Hindu Indians. Muslims of India unite and fight the Indian army in Kashmir
            Reply
            1. S
              Salman Ahmed
              Jun 13, 2017 at 3:00 am
              Muslims of India unite and rebel against the Indian state. It's time for Muslims of UP and Bihar and West Bengal and Kerala and Andhra and Maharashtra to take up stones arms lathis and rebel against the Indian army. All the muslims of India should March towards Srinagar and fight with the Indian army in their genocide and oppression towards Kashmiri Muslims . Let's break up India into small state of Nagpur only and capture all the Hindu bunyas and Brahmins. Let's make Modi a dog of Muslims and take revenge for the genocide of 2002 and 1992 and 1984 from the filthy Hindu Indians. Muslims of India unite and fight the Indian army in Kashmir
              Reply
              1. R
                Ravi
                Jun 13, 2017 at 2:54 am
                GJM must be immediately dismantled and the Terrorist must be shot in close range.
                Reply
                1. R
                  Ritesh
                  Jun 13, 2017 at 2:44 am
                  Muslims of India unite and fight against the Hindus. Let's take revenge of 1947 1984 1992 and 2002 from Indian establishment by protesting at Banaras, Somnath, Kedaranath and Rajpath. Let's capture these kafir temples and make them community centers for Muslims. Let's drown all Hindus in the Indian ocean. Let's arrange a community prayer for annihilation of Hindus of India from the earth and freedom of Kashmir and UP from India
                  Reply
                  1. G
                    Gopal Das
                    Jun 13, 2017 at 10:04 pm
                    Let all those spineless converted Kafirs and slaves of Arabs be destro . Better be Kafir rather than spineless converted afford.
                    Reply
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