The West Bengal government’s report to the Union Home Ministry on the situation in Darjeeling has suggested that upcoming elections to Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and involvement of militants from the Northeast are behind the recent violence and indefinite shutdown, officials in ministry have said. It has said the situation in the region is tense but under control.
In a five-page report, the state department has blamed the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, saying that the unrest began after an agitation organised by the outfit on June 5 during which state highways were blocked. The situation started to worsen from June 8, the report has said, after three processions taken out by the GJM to Gorkha Rang Manch Bhawan, about 100 m away from the Governor’s house, turned violent.
The agitators threw stones at police and one state transport bus, eight police vehicles and one police kiosk were damaged in explosions, said officials, citing the report. The report has said agitators, mainly from the GJM, are demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland. The Bimal Gurung-led GJM dominates the GTA. In 2012, the GJM secured all the 45 seats — 22 in Darjeeling sub-division, 10 in Kurseong and 13 in Kalimpong — under the GTA. The report has also referred to the recovery of arms and cash on a large scale to suggest involvement of militant groups from the Northeast.
It has, however, not linked any extremist group to GJM. The report, which was sent to the Home Ministry on June 17, says that as on June 13, a total of 24 cases have been registered by police and 49 security personnel have been injured in the violence, the official said. It has also said that while one civilian was killed in the protest, five others were injured, said the official.
Home minister Rajnath Singh and Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi have spoken to the state administration over the issue. A total of 11 companies — about 1,375 security personnel — are stationed in the region.
Jadavpur University students march in support of the demand for Gorkhaland on Tuesday. Express