Darjeeling tense as politics replaces violence

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Darjeeling Hills were peaceful on Tuesday with 200 BSF personnel moving in to maintain law and order. The death toll remained at two while the condition of one injured is critical.

ADG (law and order) S Karpurakayastha said the GJM workers tried to set up tents at Sipchu by violating 144 CrPC which the police did not allow. “The normal drill was followed during police firing and as in all cases of police firing, an executive inquiry will be held in this case too.” BSF jawans will flag march in the hills today.

Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) has threatened to resume its agitation. GJM spokesman Harkabahadur Chhetri said that it would pull out from the talks on the interim set-up and threatened to resume its agitation. GJM general secretary Roshan Giri demanded a CBI probe into the death of its supporters in Monday’s firing by police.

The Bengal government kept pursuing its request for army deployment till afternoon on Wednesday. Later in the day, additional director general of police (law and order) Surajit Kar Purakayastha said: “The situation has improved in the Hills. The government is not pursuing the requisition for Army at the moment.”

Meanwhile a blame game has begun between the political rivals in the state. Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly, Partha Chatterjee, on Wednesday squarely blamed the CPM for the violence in the Hills. Chatterjee held that the violence was part of the chief minister’s “conspiracy” to delay the Assembly polls.

BJP on Wednesday demanded a CBI probe into the alleged police atrocities on Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activists. The party said the acts of the West Bengal government were shameful and inhuman. Senior BJP leader and Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh claimed that there was no example in independent India of the way the West Bengal Police beat up innocent women, youth and activists of GJM on Tuesday in Jalpaiguri.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee appealed to the GJM to sit for discussion and condemned the violent methods it was adopting in the hills. “The GJM should not have resorted to such violent agitation in the Hills when tripartite talks are going on in Delhi to find a political solution to the Darjeeling problem,” the CM said. Hours before the CM issued the written statement, the government withdrew GJM president Bimal Gurung’s personal security.

Jalpaiguri District Magistrate Bandana Yadav, who held a meeting with GJM leaders said that prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC would continue in Dooars in Jalpaiguri district till normalcy was restored.

State tourism Minister Manab Mukherjee asked tourists not to visit Darjeeling saying the situation in the hills was extremely bad.

Related story:

Hills burns, GJM calls indefinite bandh



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