GJM chief Bimal Gurung underground as violence rocks Darjeeling

More central forces were headed to the Hills where Gorkhaland supporters clashed with police through the day and set ablaze a police outpost, a sericulture office and a railway station.

Written by Ravik Bhattacharya , Rahul Tripathi | Darjeeling/new Delhi | Updated: June 16, 2017 8:22 am
Darjeeling, Darjeeling violence, darjeeling protests, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, GJM, Bimal Gurung, Gorkhaland, Gorkhaland supporters, india news GJM activists protest in Darjeeling, Thursday. Partha Paul

Violence rocked the Darjeeling Hills Thursday where an agitation against mandatory teaching of Bengali in schools has metamorphosed into a movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland. More central forces were headed to the Hills where Gorkhaland supporters clashed with police through the day and set ablaze a police outpost, a sericulture office and a railway station.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), spearheading the protests, called for an indefinite bandh after police teargassed and lathicharged crowds protesting on the streets. The GJM office was raided by police who claimed they found crossbows, arrows and a pistol there.

Darjeeling SP Akhilesh Chaturvedi said, “We had information that GJM workers were gathering in the area. We raided three places and recovered firearms, materials which look like bomb-making ingredients, contraband and lethal weapons. Legal action will be taken.” S N Gupta, an IG-rank officer camping in Darjeeling, told reporters: “They (GJM) threw stones, hurled petrol bombs and fired on police.” A media vehicle was also set ablaze by protesters.

In a video message, GJM chief Bimal Gurung urged people in the Hills to stand up against what he called “police excesses… a reign of terror” and said “the struggle for Gorkhaland will continue till the goal is reached”. In Kolkata, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: “We want peace in the Hills. There is peace in Bengal. If anybody violates the law, the administration will take action. Law will take its own course… A few leaders are doing goondagiri (hooliganism). But one cannot do politics with guns and bombs. We will curb their violent agitation.”

The Centre, meanwhile, rushed 400 paramilitary personnel to Darjeeling to help the local administration. These are in addition to around 1,000 personnel already stationed there, a Home Ministry official said in New Delhi. The GJM agitation in the Hills gathered momentum after it joined forces with arch rival Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) which called off its alliance with the ruling Trinamool Congress.

In New Delhi, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri and BJP’s Darjeeling MP S S Ahluwalia met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and briefed him on the situation in the Hills. Emerging from the meeting, Giri said: “We have apprised the Home Minister of the situation in Darjeeling and the Mamata Banerjee government’s attempts to impose Bengali in district-based schools. We have urged for immediate central intervention to bring back peace there.”

He said the GJM will not participate in a tripartite meeting called by the Home Ministry on June 19 to discuss issues related to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. He said the GJM will only discuss formation of a separate state.

Giri said the West Bengal government was trying to “using force to brutally suppress the democratic movement for Gorkhaland” and “we will never accept imposition of Bengali in Darjeeling”. The West Bengal government too asked the Home Ministry to defer the tripartite talks.

— With PTI inputs

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  1. K
    Karnataka
    Jun 19, 2017 at 7:59 pm
    The equation is very simple. 1> Most of the funds that the industry barren WB receives from is Darjeeling. 2> Mamta begum is using the hard earned taspayer money of the Gorkhas to appease the muslims. Gorkhas are fed up with it and they want their own land, so that they can establish their own iden y and be able to use their hard earned taxpayer money on themselves. This is a very reasonable thing and the Gorkhas deserve a state of their own. I don't see any wrong and we from Karnataka support!
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    1. P
      Partha
      Jun 16, 2017 at 12:22 pm
      Media is only showing the stone throwing youths but the real cause of the unrest is not revealed. Mamta's ambition to grab power of Darjeeling is the main cause of the unrest. Since the formation of GTA under GJM representation in 2013, she have tried to divide various tribes in Darjeeling such as Lepcha, Bhutia etc. with an eye to destabilize GTA and GJM and to establish TMC Raj in the Hill. She started parallel administration diminishing the power of GTA. Recently the demonstration was against Bengali languages in the Hill but later under pressure Mamta announced that it is additional and not compulsory. However ordered lathicharhe to piecefull demoniterisstion and added fuel to fire. Mercilessly lathicharhe have been done with piecefull demonstrator. Angry demonstrators became violent. Now when the situation is out of hand she calls Army. For all the violence in the Hill Mamta's political ambition is the main cause. Central should intervene and save Gorhkas from the clutches of
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      1. d
        dipen07@yahoo.com
        Jun 16, 2017 at 11:17 am
        ture colors of unethical leaders always causes these kind of atrocities , Bimal on other is uneducated and and Mamata is educated but unfair . it is beyond all Liberal Gorkhas to understand the dirty policies implemented towards them. Mamta and Bimal both cannot never understand the poor's sufferings, why agitation did not continued when everyone as behind him, when it had started, why he had accepted GTA????? ,now it is right time for the people of Hills to recognised the true leader and follow his/her path, there isn't any need to fight with armed forces, throwing stones to them is like tickling the bodies, which wouldn't hurt at all,and most importantly people should do it peacefully, TMC Govt is provoking the people of Hills, and have to understand that too, media who are there actually there is Govt Backed medias who had been already instructed to cover only ugly sides of Darjeeling and her beautiful people . God bless us and lets all pray for each other's safety and well being.
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        1. K
          Khalid
          Jun 16, 2017 at 10:55 am
          Lets see if pelet guns will be used here or this crime is only against kashmiris
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          1. P
            Partha
            Jun 16, 2017 at 10:53 am
            Mamta's plan to ruin GTA and conquer power of Darjeeling is the cause of the unrest. Now she is using brutal police force to crush their democratic movement. The reaction of GJM is natural. Central should intervene.
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