Members of the Gorkhland Movement Co-ordination Committee (GMCC) on Thursday called on Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi to intervene and stop the “killing of people” in the Darjeeling hills. They also urged him to consider the demand of a separate Gorkhaland within the provision of the Constitution. Meanwhile, amid withdrawal of the Army from the Hills on the state government’s request, pro-Gorkhaland agitators burnt down two government offices at Lamahatta in Darjeeling, said a PTI report.
“On one hand, the Hills have been turned into a killing field by West Bengal police where it does not bother to observe any legal procedure before firing; and on the other, the police and Trinamool cadre have been creating forceful blockade in all exit points to prevent supply of essential commodities to the Hills since one month. This is also to apprise you that a good number of social elements under the instruction of Trinamool have been perpetrating various acts of arson and vandalism all over the Hills to sabotage the democratic movement or the separate state of Gorkhaland. In this pretext, the government is likely to afflict more atrocities on the people,” read the memorandum submitted to the Governor.
Speaking to reporters outside Raj Bhawan, GMCC coordinator and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha vice-president, Kalyan Dewan said, “We have requested the Governor’s intervention to resolve the present situation in the Hills. The atrocities of the state government must stop. The democratic movement should not be suppressed.”
Asked whether they would hold talks with the state government in this regard, Dewan said, “There is no question of holding talks with the state government. Our demand is Gorkhaland and we will only hold talks with the Centre.” GMCC is a conglomeration of fourteen political and apolitical organisations from the Darjeeling Hills, Terai and Doars.
PTI adds: On Thursday, alleged GJM supporters threw petrol bombs at a revenue department office and a panchayat office, reducing them to ashes, the police said.
Supporters of the GJM and other hill parties also held a demonstration outside the district magistrate’s office demanding restoration of Internet services which remained suspended for the last 32 days.
The Army, meanwhile, was withdrawn from the Hills after the state government sought its pullout on July 18, a defence official said on Thursday.
“The Army was deployed in the hills on July eight on request from the state government. The Army was withdrawn on July 18 as state government sought its withdrawal,” a defence official said. Some party activists, dressed in traditional Nepali attire, took out rallies in the morning.
The police and security forces patrolled the streets and kept a tight vigil at every entry and exit points. All shops, restaurants, hotels, schools and colleges remained closed except pharmacies.