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Saturday, May 15, 2010

GJM bandh paralyses Darjeeling, agitators damage 6 vehicles..passengers injured.. Strike in Dooars partial.... CRPF arriving shortly

PTI, SILIGURI: The 48-hour bandh called by Gorkha Janamukti Morcha crippled life in Darjeeling hills today, even as suspected members of the outfit damaged six vehicles on a highway connecting the region to Sikkim, police said.

Sikkim Vehicles Damaged during the bandh"The attack on six private vehicles on NH 31A, the road link to Sikkim, might have been carried out by members of Highway Protection Committee, an unofficial wing of GJM, to tactically enforce the bandh without directly violating the Supreme Court order to keep the highway out of the purview of shutdowns," IGP (North Bengal) K L Tamta said.
The highway was open, but movement of vehicles to Sikkim was less than normal as the news of the attack on the vehicles spread, Tamta said.
Meanwhile, the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong wore a deserted look with all shops, markets and business establishments closed and vehicles keeping off the roads.
With the administrative-level tripartite talks on Gorkhaland failing to yield results, the GJM has revived its agitation for a separate state.
The party has called a separate 10-day bandh on June 12 in Siliguri.
GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told PTI that the party has been "forced" to renew its demand for Gorkhaland as both the state and the Centre was not ready to consider its demand for demarcation of territory for the proposed interim hill council, which has demanded inclusion of Siliguri and adjoining areas in the Dooars and Terai.

IANS, Siliguri, May 15 : Stone-throwing Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) activists damaged several Sikkim-bound vehicles, including two buses carrying army personnel, on the first day Saturday of a two-day shutdown called by the outfit in three north Bengal areas it wants carved out as a separate Gorkhaland state.
Life came to a standstill in most of the areas under the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong in Darjeeling district with shops, markets and commercial establishments remaining closed and vehicles keeping off the roads in response to the shutdown.
The GJM has been agitating for a separate Gorkhaland state comprising the three hill sub-divisions, as also the Terai (plains area covering Siliguri and adjacent zones) of Darjeeling and the Dooars (foothills of the Himlayas) in Jalpaiguri district.
The attacks on the vehicles took place on National Highway 31A, considered the lifeline of the Himalayan state, near its border with West Bengal at Rangpo under Kalimpong sub-division, police sources said.
'Four Sikkim Nationalised Transport buses, including two carrying army personnel, were stoned by suspected shutdown supporters. Three cars, including one of Hindi daily Dainik Jagran, were also damaged. Some bus and car passengers suffered minor injuries,' the sources said.
'Some vehicles were detained and some other diverted by the agitationists. But when our men went to the spot they could not find any of the protestors,' they said.
However, the shutdown had no impact in Siliguri, and life was largely normal in the Dooars.
In the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling also, the shutdown had no effect in areas dominated by the newly formed anti-GJM front comprising Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL).
Plucking of leaves went on unhindered in four tea gardens under the Jorabanglow police station and another at Simulbari under the Kurseong police station.
However, GJM assistant general secretary Benoy Tamang said the shutdown was a total success.
Political tempers are again running high in the hills with the GJM calling a 10-day shutdown June 12-21 to press for the Gorkhaland demand.
GJM activists - led by party president Bimal Gurung - have been agitating for the separate Gorkhaland state besides opposing special status to the hill governing body, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).
TT, May 15: At least 10 vehicles, most of them ferrying tourists, were attacked on the highway that leads from Siliguri to Sikkim as Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters enforced the outfit’s two-day shutdown in the hills starting today.
Although a few drivers were roughed up, no tourists were touched.
Despite the Supreme Court asking the state government to ensure that traffic remained uninterrupted on NH31A, Sikkim remained cut off from the rest of the country. No car either moved up from Siliguri or came down from the hills today.
Sikkim police said the windscreens of at least five vehicles were smashed at Tarkhola, 8km from Rangpo, the entry point to Sikkim. The tyres of five other vehicles were deflated. Except for a goods-carrying truck, all the other vehicles attacked were cars carrying tourists to the Himalayan state. The tourists were asked to get off the cars before the vehicles were vandalised.
The Morcha’s strike call failed to have any impact in Siliguri, the Terai and most parts of the Dooars.
“If Bengal police provide security, we will try to send tourists and other passengers from here to Siliguri and bring back those stranded there,” said M.S. Tuli, the East Sikkim police chief.
D. Anandan, the East Sikkim district collector, said he had urged Darjeeling district magistrate Surendra Gupta to act against those responsible for the attack.
Uday Saha, secretary of the Darjeeling District Taxi and Private Car Drivers’ Union, said: “No vehicle went to Sikkim today as our drivers feared attacks by bandh supporters. We are yet to decide what to do tomorrow.”
All establishments in the three hill subdivisions of Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Kurseong remained closed today. The Morcha is observing the strike to pressure the state and the Centre into agreeing to its terms on the territory to be brought under the proposed interim set-up for the hills.
The Morcha has announced another 10-day strike from June 12.
Several tourists in Sikkim missed their trains today because they failed to reach Siliguri. Darjeeling tourists had already left the hills after the Morcha’s announcement of the strike.
“We have no option but to stay back even though we had train reservations from New Jalpaiguri today,” said Manohar Karat, a tourist from Madhya Pradesh. He had arrived in Sikkim on May 12 in a group of 14.
The helicopter services of the Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation are operational but they are booked till Monday.
K.L. Tamta, the inspector-general of north Bengal, said: “We have posted police personnel on the highway but this does not appear to be enough. We have asked for four companies of the CRPF.”
3 companies of CRPF to be deployed by Sunday night
TH, Kolkata: Central forces are set to be redeployed in Darjeeling against the backdrop of a renewal of the demand for Statehood by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) which also resumed its agitation on the issue. A 48-hour bandh began in the region on Saturday.
West Bengal Home Secretary Samar Roy said on Saturday that the forces which were withdrawn would be redeployed: “The Centre has agreed to this and the forces are expected to arrive shortly.”
The forces, deployed around August last year, were withdrawn about four months ago.
The announcement by the Home Secretary came amid reports that six private vehicles have been damaged on National Highway 31A which is the road link to Sikkim.
The bandh called by the GJM has already crippled life in the hills and its surrounding areas on Saturday.
A blow to tourism
Besides affecting daily life, it is dealing a body-blow to the tourism industry which is at peak season time. Mr Roy, however, said that the national highways are open and there is adequate security around.
Youth held for sodomising minor  
Prabin Khaling, Gangtok, May 15: A 20 year old youth from Metro Point, Tadong is arrested by Gangtok Sadar Police on alleged charges of sodomy against a four year old boy. The victim’s father had lodged a complaint with the police yesterday alleging Prayesh Bardewa of sexually assaulting the four year old kid. It is alleged that the accused had lured the victim to his room yesterday with sweets and sexually assaulted him there. Police has registered a case under section 377 of IPC dealing with unnatural offences against the human body.
KalimNews with inputs from Sheem:GJMM has announced that from 18th May to 20th May GJNM will hold rallies in all areas. ABGL has confirmed that it will observe League Day on 19th  in Darjeeling as scheduled earlier. Tikaram Chhetri ex Kalimpong Municipality Councillor and GNLF supporter died. He was attacked  and seriously injured allegedly by GJMM supporters on 12th may and was under treatment at Siliguri. His body was cremated at Siliguri today.  
Bundh in three hill subdivision of Darjeeling was  total and peaceful.  It also was observed in Sukuna, Salugara, Panighatta, Belgachi, Nirpani and Salbari. Life and works in Cedar TE, Simulbari TE, Rangbull, Sonada were normal claimed CPRM. There was little impact of the strike in the Dooars area except, Bagrakote, Samsing and Kalchini. GJMM picketers blocked the NH in different areas and the traffic was disrupted Jalpaiguri police informed.
Sarita Sharma of Rangit Sikkim, Anand Chhetri of Dehradun, Roshan  Thapa and Ram Chhetri of Nepal were arrested from a flat at Uttarayan of Matigara and a lodge of Bagdogra. Anand was arrested with 9mm pistol, a magazine, 12 round cartridge, a fake identity card of BSF officer, a BSF uniform, Nu 55 thousand Bhutan currency, a mobile, a registration of a mobike, a scorpio car with Assam registration number. The arrested four are suspected to be running a motor stealing gang.

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