Darjeeling, May 7, 2013
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM)on May 6 called an indefinite strike in the Darjeeling Hills demanding the removal of a police officer in-charge of Mirik and arrest of some supporters of Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) for the alleged attack on its members.
Activists from the GJM and the rival GNLF clashed during a public rally at Soureni in Mirik, following which police had to resort to lathi-charge to control the melee. Two people have been injured in the clash.
The GJM is demanding the removal of Mirik police station in-charge Sourav Sen, who allegedly led an indiscriminate baton charge on its activities, injuring several of them.
“We have informed the government, including Chief Minister Mamata Banjerjee and the police top brass that unless Sen is suspended and the GLNF miscreants are arrestged, there will be an indefinite strike in the hills”, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said while addressing a press conference here. He stated that Morcha leaders and supporters have been injured in the clash.
However, the GJM leadership later relaxed the strike call till May 6 evening to allow the West bengal government to act on its demands.
“We do not want to disturb the tourist season. So we have decided to defer our strike call till Monday 6 p.m. If by then the government does not remove Sen and arrest the GNLF goons, we will go ahead with the strike”, Giri said, caling for intensifying its demand for a separatre state of Gorkhaland.
According to the Morcha leader, the injured were Gorkhaland Territorial Administration members Arun Sigchy and Phubi Rai amongst others.
As soon as the news of the clash and lathi charge at Soureni reached different parts of the hills, shops in all the three hill sub divisions were closed by the Morcha at around 1:30 p.m. However, vehicles were allowed to ply.
Reportedly, the GNLF had on May 5 organized a meeting along with an opening of their office there when the clash between the two political outfits took place around eleven in the morning followed by the lathi charge by the police. Some police personnel have also been injured in the clash.
Questioning as to how GNLF without any officials permission was allowed to hold the programme, Giri alleged that Mirik OC was working for the GNLF and demanded for his transfer.
The Morcha also alleged that the GNLF were trying to destabilize peace in the hills by holding such programmes. “We do not want disturbance in the hills especially with the tourist season just starting. The miscreants from the GNLF are trying to break the peace here and the State government should look into the matter and take necessary action,” Giri said.
The GNLF on the other had alleged that the fault lay on the hands of the Morcha who tried to stop their programme through undemocratic means. “We were supposed to open our Soureni unit office on May 5 for which we were putting our party flags in the town area when some Morcha supporters topped and at the same time vehicles for our supporters coming for the programme were stopped for entering Soureni. These activities led to the clash. Our supporters have also been injured by the Morcha,” GNLF Mirik convener Arjun Rai, stated.
The latest we are hearing is that a GNLF supporter Kiran Thapa has been arrested.
(Courtesy: Sikkim Express)
Donggala, Sulawesi Tengah
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