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Darjeeling: GJM supported shutdown on government offices

By Newsd
Updated on :
Source: HT

On Monday, 8 suspected Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activists were detained for participating in arson in Darjeeling. This comes in the wake of the GJM-sponsored strike demanding a separate state of ‘Gorkhaland’. There was a shutdown in government offices.

According to police sources, the eight people were detained this morning for trying to torch a BDO office at Phulbazar in Bijanbari block. “A quick response from the fire department and an alert administration helped us avoid any untoward incident.Around eight persons have been detained,” he said.

The roads looked deserted amid high security. Several hotels were closed and very few vehicles were on the roads. However, transport and hotels were spared from the bandh, though there were fewer vehicles on road. Schools and colleges were also exempted from the purview of the shutdown, called by the GJM for reviving its demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland. Most eateries, shops, markets and private offices downed their shutters and GJM party flags were seen fluttering all over the hills.

Darjeeling District Magistrate Joyoshi Dasgupta said, “The situation is peaceful here till now. Everything is normal and people have already started arriving at offices. Attendance in school is also normal. We have taken all precautionary measures to check any untoward incident.”

Speaking about the tightened security, she said that police pickets, barricades have been placed in front of government offices, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) offices and RAF and a sizeable number of women police personnel have been deployed.

“The administration will act as per the law if anybody is found forcing others as well as establishments to participate in the bandh,” the DM said. She said that the Army was present in the hills as a “backup”.

“The administration will also see that no tourist faces trouble because of the bandh. We will not allow anything or anybody to disturb normal life here in the hills,” she stated.

Notably, Darjeeling has been under turmoil as violence erupted on Thursday near Bhanu Bhavan where the GJM supporters were holding a rally to demand a separate state of Gorkhaland and a written assurance from the Mamata Banerjee government that it won’t ‘impose’ Bengali in the north Bengal hills and that “Bengali could be learnt as a fourth language”.

As per reports, GJM had issued a diktat to banks to open only twice a week. GJM president Bimal Gurung asked the tourists to leave as there was a possibility of occurrence of “untoward” incidents. When contacted, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said the party will “appeal” to the people to participate in the bandh and not go to offices. “We will appeal to the people not to go to offices and make our bandh successful. We will hold a torch rally later in the evening,” Giri said over phone.

To counter the shutdown, the state government has ordered all its employees and those of the institutions receiving grants-in-aid from it to attend office on all days till the agitation continues, warning that absence from duty will be considered as a break in service.


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