The car of Siliguri Deputy Commissioner (DC) was on Saturday attacked by a group of protesters, who were carrying khukris, when he was on his way to Siliguri from Mirik. DC Gaurav Lal was accompanied by special forces of Kolkata Police. While Lal was travelling in a Scorpio, the security personnel were travelling in another Scorpio.
Sources said the incident took place at around 5.30 pm when the car reached Ghayabari. The mob allegedly vandalised Lal’s car, poured petrol on it, but was unable to set it on fire, they added. As per sources, the protesters threatened the DC by holding a khukri to his neck. Lal has reached Siliguri safely, they said.
Meanwhile, a panchayat office was set on fire in Darjeeling as the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM)-led indefinite strike demanding a separate state entered its 31st day on Saturday, as per PTI. The gherao of the DM’s office, which was to take place on Friday, was cancelled with the protesters taking out a peaceful rally instead. The indefinite hunger strike that the leaders of all Hill parties were to begin from Saturday has also been indefinitely postponed.
Official sources said the district administration has extended the ban on Internet services till July 25. The ban was imposed on June 18, PTI reported.
Sources said that in the past one month, 21 vehicles were torched. Protesters had tried to set fire to five buildings in various parts of Darjeeling district since Thursday night. Meanwhile, the GJM, the spearhead of the statehood agitation, rubbished the state government’s allegation that it “has a tacit understanding with Maoists and is getting tactical support from them”, PTI reported.
“The allegation levelled against us that we are getting support from Maoists is completely false. We challenge the state government to prove the allegation,” PTI quoted GJM youth wing chief Prakash Gurung as saying. According to PTI, police and security forces patrolled the streets of the hills and kept a tight vigil on every entry and exit route. Except pharmacies, all the other shops, restaurants, hotels, schools and colleges remained closed. With food supply severely hit due to the shutdown, GJM activists and NGOs of the hills were seen distributing food items among the people.