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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Khukuri slash reopens gash, cop shots kill 2, hills on fire

Subhas chandra Bose, TT, Sibchu, Feb. 8: A khukuri attack on a policewoman re-lit the powder keg in Darjeeling, triggering police firing in Jalpaiguri in which a teenager and a young woman supporter of Gorkhaland died and igniting a wave of arson in the hills.
The bloodletting and firebombing have not only put the hills back on the boil and muddled the tripartite talks but also reopened questions on the mob control skills of Bengal police.
The way events spun out of control today — initial accounts indicated panic-fuelled firing by a police force fleeing a violent mob — suggests that the law enforcement agencies had learnt few lessons from Nandigram where a flare-up in 2007 had created an unparalleled crisis for the state government.
The stand-off in Sibchu, a forest 110km from Siliguri and close to the Bhutan border, blew up this morning when over 3,000 Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters assembled in defiance of prohibitory orders and attacked security forces. 

A confrontation has been brewing since January 19 when the Morcha had launched a “long march for Gorkhaland”, charting a course that would have taken supporters of a new state through the Dooars that houses groups opposed to the proposal.
Since Adivasis in the Dooars are not known to back Gorkhaland, the administration had prevented the Morcha from marching past Sibchu. Yesterday, security forces had removed a tent camp there.
However, this morning, Morcha supporters returned to Sibchu, cut trees and laid them across the road — a tactic put to effective use in Nandigram by land acquisition protesters — to block the security forces.
Reinforcements — 300 police and CRPF personnel — reached the spot around 10.30am. Officials asked the crowd to disperse since Section 144, which prevents assembly, was in force. After a last warning went unheeded at 11.35am, the police burst tear gas shells and baton-charged the crowd that split into three groups and scattered. The police then chased out from the community hall a group on hunger strike.
The security forces seemed to have made an error of judgement after this and underestimated the resolve of the crowd. A little over half an hour later, the protesters re-converged from three sides and attacked the police.
One person slashed at constable Kalyani Tigga’s head with a khukuri. As blood streamed down Kalyani’s head, a policeman standing near her opened fire. The shot hit a teenager, not the attacker, standing nearby.
The battle intensified then and the police started fleeing, according to witnesses. However, seeing some of their colleagues being hit by stones and bleeding, a few policemen turned around and fired six more rounds. The 24-year-old woman was killed in this fresh round of firing.
The Morcha identified the dead as Bimala Rai from Kalimpong and 16-year-old Vicky Lama from Rangamati in Malbazar. The police, however, said those killed were yet to be identified. 
Inspector-general of police, north Bengal, Ranveer Kumar said: “They hacked our lady constable, Kalyani Tigga, with a khukuri on her head and the police had to fire in self-defence. The police were also fired upon from an improvised firearm which was seized from the spot.”
He said the subdivisional police officer of Malbazar, Arindam Sarkar, and the officer in charge of the Malbazar police station, B.D. Sarker, were among those seriously injured by stones thrown by the protesters.
Dead body of Bimala Rai
Kumar said Wilson Champromari, the Morcha-backed Independent MLA of Kalchini, was arrested from the spot. Two mobile phones and Rs 22,000 were seized from him.
“He was among those who incited the violence against the police,” the inspector-general said.
While being led to a police van, Wilson claimed he had been leading a peaceful agitation. “We want to take Bimal Gurung to the Dooars and we were on a peaceful movement. We were attacked brutally by the police and the hunger-strikers were chased and beaten out of the community hall. I was also badly beaten up.”
Soon after, Morcha supporters struck at several places in their strongholds in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong, targeting government establishments and burning down some buildings, including at least one in the Mall. A judge’s parked car was also set on fire. ( )
The Morcha has called an indefinite strike from 6am tomorrow to protest the firing. At 4pm, shopkeepers who had downed shutters on their own were asked to reopen so that people could stock up on essentials. Tourists — not too many are around in the lean season — used the window to leave Darjeeling.
Late tonight, Morcha president Bimal Gurung asked people to stop destroying property, remain calm and maintain peace.(ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AVIJIT SINHA, VIVEK CHHETRI AND RAJEEV RAVIDAS)
KalimNews: Wilson Champramari, MLA of Kalchini Dooars was produced before the CGM court, Jalpaiguri and remanded for 14 days police custody. FIR has been lodged against Harka bahadur Chhetri, Kalyan Dewan, Binay Tamang, Norden Lama for instigating the mob for violence. 2 pipe guns are recovered from the place of incident, added a police source. Names of the dead first leaked from police source and GJM source were later found to be in correct. Later both sources corrected their version and finally declared that Bikky (Vicky ) Lama 16 of Rangamutee Dooars and Binia Rai of Khani died on the spot. KalimNews also apologises for the mistake. 
According Hospital sources 15 injured were admitted in SD Hospital, Kalimpong of which four had bullet injury. Their bullets were extracted after operation  and they are out of danger but the condition of Nitu Khawas is serious. She was shot at her stomach at close range.  All the bullet injuries were found to be above the waist.
Center has agreed to send additional force for Darjeeling. All trains in Dooars are have been stopped since yesternight.
BDO's Office and Forest Office and Forest Bunglow of Gorubathan is set ablaze partly while 2 Forest Rest House of Jholung and Forest Compound are burnt to ashes. CRPF is now marching in the streets of Kalimpong since morning of 9th February.
GDF, BGP, AAGSU, Krishak Kalyan MahaSangh have condemned the Shibsu firing as heinous crime against women. 
VICKY LAMA (16): He was a resident of Rungamuttee Tea Estate, 150km from Sibchu near Jaigaon. Garden sources said Vicky who died in police firing was a diehard Morcha supporter and was from a garden where the party has a strong support base. Vicky’s father is a garden worker. “He was almost a child when we launched our movement back in 2007. Since then, I have noticed him in every programme in the Jaigaon-Hashimara area,” said Ashok Lama, the convener of the eastern committee of the Dooars.
BIMALA RAI (24): Bimala, a resident of Khani village, around 30km from Kalimpong, was a Nari Morcha member. She along with others were shouting slogans at Sibchu when a bullet fired by the police hit her. “We, the Nari Morcha, were leading the demonstration and Bimala was in the front row,” a woman leader of the Morcha, said. “We had no clue that the police would open fire. Bimala somehow fell behind as the police resorted to firing. Everyone was running here and there and suddenly she yelled and fell to the ground.”
Morcha assistant secretary Binay Tamang said she had come to Sibchu around a week back and was participating in the hunger strike launched by the Nari Morcha at the community hall of the state forest department. “She was found ata distance of about 50 metres from the community hall with a bullet injury on her forehead,” Tamang claimed. Bimala is survived by her parents, two sisters and a brother.
The two people who died in police firing and a constable who was injured in a khukuri attack at Sibchu on Tuesday
KARUNA TIGGA: She has been a constable for the past 12 years. Karuna is posted at the district police lines in Jalpaiguri. She was one of the women constables sent to Sibchu to stop the Nari Morcha supporters from entering the Dooars. “As the Nari Morcha was leading today’s demonstration, our women constables were in the front to thwart their advance,” a police officer said. According to police sources, after the force dispersed the Morcha supporters initially by charging batons and bursting teargas shells, suddenly they found that a group had encircled Tigga and was closing in on her. “She could have succeeded in resisting them but was hit with a khukuri by a Morcha supporter,” said a police source. Karuna, around 30, is a widow.
State sends request but army reluctant
TT, Feb. 8: The Bengal government today sought army deployment in Darjeeling for the first time since the Gorkhaland agitation began but highly placed sources told The Telegraph the defence force was extremely reluctant to get involved.
“Our professional opinion is we are not meant to control riots. Now it is up to the political leadership to decide if all resources had been exhausted and army deployment is the only option left,” a military source said in Delhi.
The assertion means unless the UPA leadership asks defence minister A.K. Antony to intervene, the army will not be used for civilian operations in Darjeeling.
The army had sent a note to the defence ministry in November saying that it should not be called in by state governments to tackle every civilian emergency.
Darjeeling district magistrate Mohan Gandhi had said the request for the army had been sent to state chief secretary Samar Ghosh and the hill official was expecting deployment by tomorrow morning. Ghosh told The Telegraph in Calcutta: “We have sent a request to the defence ministry to deploy the army in the Darjeeling hills.”
Even during the height of the GNLF agitation, deployment did not go beyond paramilitary forces. The army had shared intelligence with the civil police but had not deployed its troops in the hills.
Sources said that unlike the paramilitary forces that report to the district superintendent of police, the army, if it was deployed, would report to the district magistrate.
The army’s reluctance will come as a blow to the Bengal government and the CPM that has been trying to wash its hands of the Darjeeling hot potato. “The Morcha’s actual intention was to create divisions among different communities living there. Today’s incident was a result of that. Now it is the Centre’s responsibility,” CPM state secretary Biman Bose had said during the day.
“The Union home minister should take the responsibility of restraining and preventing the Morcha from indulging in violent activities,” Bose added. Officials in the Union home ministry reacted with anger, saying law and order was a state subject and that the Centre was doing its bit by providing the state with paramilitary forces.
“There are four companies of the CRPF already deployed in the hills and we had sent this force because the state government thought it necessary to deal with the unrest in the hills,” an official said.
Home ministry sources said the situation would not have come to such a pass had the state government been “more flexible” and agreed to Morcha’s terms for setting up an interim authority for the hills. The state government sources termed the comment “unfair”.
A consensus is eluding mainly because of two issues. The Morcha wants to nominate the members of the interim set-up but the state government says proportional representation based on the results of the panchayat elections should be followed.
The second dispute relates to the territorial jurisdiction of the interim set-up. The Morcha wants the Dooars, the Terai and Siliguri — apart from the three hill sub-divisions — to be covered. The state government is not willing to allow the jurisdiction go beyond the hills.
Today, Bose also said: “The Trinamul chief should also take responsibility (of restraining the Morcha). That’s because the Morcha is maintaining political relations with her party.”
Mobs torch offices and vehicles Forest houses bear brunt of attacks
Rajeev ravidas and Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling/Kalimpong, Feb. 8: Darjeeling hills went up in flames today with mobs burning down government offices, including the Kalimpong subdivisional office, and vehicles after two Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters were killed in a police firing at Sibchu in Jalpaiguri district at noon. The Morcha, which denied its involvement in the violence sweeping across the hills, has called an indefinite general strike in the area it wants as Gorkhaland from 6am tomorrow. Soon after the firing, Morcha supporters came out on the streets across the hills, organising road blockades at various places, even as shopkeepers downed the shutters. Silver Fir, which houses the office of the additional tourism director, DGHC, situated at Chowrastha in Darjeeling went up in flames. The vehicle of the district and session judge and a police van were set on fire. Both the vehicles were parked on the premises of the Darjeeling district magistrate’s office. A vehicle belonging to the district administration’s pool was torched near the Kurseong Motor Stand, while an office of the state forest department near Giddepahar in Kurseong was vandalised. The government properties torched in the Kalimpong municipality area include the bungalow of the divisional manager, West Bengal Forest Development Corporation (WBFDC), the office of the public works department and the office of the block development officer. Two buses parked at the Motor Stand were also set ablaze. One bus belonged to the North Bengal State Transport Corporation. “The mob also partially burned the office of the subdivisional officer,” said a police source. Elsewhere in the subdivision, the WBFDC guest houses at Jaldhaka and Lava — 100 and 35 kilometres from Kalimpong — and a police outpost in Pedong were razed to the ground by mobs. “The office of the Lava forest range officer was also torched,” said a forest officer. “The divisional office in Kalimpong has also been gutted in fire. The angry people ransacked the office before setting the building on fire. The WBFDC divisional manager’s bungalow (situated in the same complex) was completely destroyed in the fire. The personal belongings of the manager (Ujjal Ghosh) went up in flames. He and his family were not at home when the incident occurred. They were away in Jalpaiguri,” said a source. In the evening, alleged Morcha supporters torched forest properties in at least four more places. These include a rest house and a tourist cottage at Gorubathan, a WBFDC tourist resort at Samsing in Jalpaiguri, the beat office in Sonada, an office at Bhutiabusty in Darjeeling and a rest house at Paren in Kalimpong subdivision. Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha, however denied the party’s involvement in the incident. “We dissociate ourselves from these incidents. We have never burnt down offices and we want this agitation to be democratic and peaceful.” Tonight, more government offices were targeted by arsonists. Electricity office and telephone exchange in Darjeeling were set ablaze, while forest conservator’s car was torched near Mirik. Bijanbari fire service station was also torched by a mob.
Morcha shuns ‘business’ with state Hill solution lost in Sibchu confrontation
Police fire tear gas to chase away Morcha supporters at Sibchu on Tuesday. Picture by Biplab Basak
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Feb. 8: The Sibchu firing has pushed the possibility of a resolution of the hill problem out of the reckoning, at least in the near future with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha saying it will “do no business” with the state government.
The firing killed two Morcha supporters on the Darjeeling-Jalpaiguri border today and the party said the state government is “bent on heaping injustice” on the people of the Darjeeling hills.
“We want to have nothing to do with the state government. In fact, we do not want to stay in Bengal,” said Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri this evening. “The Centre must intervene and concede to our demand and create Gorkhaland. The state government is bent on heaping injustice on us.”
Giri said his party would send a fax to Union home minister P. Chidambaram, apprising him of the “atrocities against us”.
Morcha sources said the party would also step up its agitation and not get “misled” into holding talks which was only “derailing” the movement.
“The incident today has only provided our supporters with renewed enthusiasm to agitate for a separate state,” a Morcha leader said. “We will do no business with the state government. Now we know that the state, which appears to have the backing of the Centre, is not sincere in resolving the problem peacefully.”
With the Morcha already having rejected the idea of an interim set-up for the Darjeeling hills and determined to step up its agitation, the hills are set to face further uncertainly in the coming months, observers here said.
Besides, Morcha leaders as well as political observers said with the talks for an interim set-up having hit a dead-end, the state government appears to have “lost its patience” and decided to “deal firmly” with the Morcha supporters.
“Yesterday, the state police had dismantled the tents of Gorkhaland Personnel at Sibchu and said they were acting on a complaint lodged by the forest department for illegally encroaching on their land,” a Morcha leader said. “But in the past B.L. Meena, the administrator of the DGHC, had also registered a number of cases against the Morcha for illegally occupying government buildings in various places across the hills. At that time the government had not resorted to forceful eviction.”
The Morcha leader said the state government was hardening its stand against the Morcha and there appears to be a “shift” in its policy of dealing with the party’s movement.
The Morcha today tried to distance itself from the violence that had broken out across the hills after the death of two of its supporters with the party insisting that it believed in non-violence.
“We will fly our party flag at half mast tomorrow and hold a black flag rally. We will still stick to a democratic movement and will not resort to violence,” Giri said.
The Morcha has called an indefinite strike in the hills from tomorrow. Around 4pm today the Morcha lifted the road blockades across the hills that were set up to protest the firing. Shops too reopened for the people to replenish their stocks. Tea gardens and cinchona plantations have not been exempted from the strike this time. A few tourists — only a handful are there in Darjeeling — were seen leaving the hills after the blockades were lifted.
“We are being denied justice and an indefinite strike will be organised across the Darjeeling hills, Terai and the Dooars from tomorrow,” said Giri.
Many Morcha supporters today said they did not rule out the possibility of violence and renewed turmoil in the hills. “Passions are running high in the hills and it is difficult to predict what turn events can take,” a Morcha supporter said. “If the state government wants confrontation, then its hardly possible to expect the Morcha to sit quietly with folded arms.”
Violence vitiates forest serenity
Avijit Sinha, TT, Siliguri, Feb. 8: The latest mode of agitation spearheaded by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the firing at Sibchu have set alarm bells ringing with the forest department worried about the new threats to wildlife habitats in north Bengal.
The foresters are also concerned over the torching of forest offices and bungalows by mobs following the firing.
According to Kalyan Das, the divisional forest officer (Jalpaiguri), ever since the Morcha supporters have been camping at Kumani in Kalimpong subdivision, Nari Morcha supporters took control of the community hall of the state forest department in the village.
“For the past 15 days, they were in control of the community hall and built tents in the forests, which is an offence,” said Das.
“They have cleared grasslands in forests to pitch tents at Sibchu. They have chopped trees and entered the forests on a regular basis. Hundreds of gaurs (Indian bison) and elephants stay in these areas and Sibchu is a part of an elephant corridor,” said Das.
According to the foresters, the wildlife habitats in Chapramari and adjoining Sibchu have been affected because of the Morcha agitation in the past 15-20 days.
“The agitation has also affected patrolling in the forests whose serenity is vitiated by the encroachment by Morcha supporters,” said the DFO.
Das was also worried over the safety of foresters. “We are deeply concerned over torching of our properties and the way these people (attackers) are entering reserve forests,” said Das.
As the news of firing at Sibchu spread, people started gathering in groups and turned violent. “They burned down forest offices and bungalows one after the other. Although no forest employee has been attacked so far, our men are quite scared,” said a senior forest officer.
Worried over the arson, the forest department contacted the state chief secretary and the director general of police and sought protection for the employees.< “Our staff members have lost their belongings in the attacks. Further, a number of properties were destroyed in arson and the employees are somehow staying in their respective places,” Atanu Raha, the principal chief conservator of forests, West Bengal, told The Telegraph over the phone from Calcutta. “We have informed the chief secretary and the director general of police about the violence and have asked for additional forces to ensure security for our men and properties,” he added.

Scars more intense than baton sores
TT, Kalimpong, Feb. 8: Their physical wounds may eventually heal, but some of the injured persons in the Sibchu violence who have been admitted to the Kalimpong subdivisional hospital will have to live with a mental scar for the rest of their life.
Laxmi Mangar, a member of the Nari Morcha, could not stop crying as she related the events that lead to her hospitalisation. She could not lie straight on the bed because of the sore back.
“They have reduced me to this state. Those men beat me up so badly even though I did not as much as raise a hand,” said Mangar, adding that she was repeatedly hit on her back by a lathi-wielding policeman.
Mangar said she fell on the ground because of the blows and she could not move. “I was carried by some boys and put in a car,” said the woman. “The smoke from the teargas shells also hurt my eyes. I was feeling pain in every part of my body.”
Khusboo Adhikary, another injured, said she was assaulted while helping a victim of bullet wounds to a car. “They first hit me with their sticks while I was trying to lift the friend hit by the bullet when she was lying on the ground. Despite the blows, I, along with some other people, managed to carry the girl to a car. However, some policemen again came after us and hit me from behind even as I was trying to put the girl inside the car,” she said.
Adhikary, who is from Bongbusty, 3km from here, is a member of Gorkhaland Personnel, a voluntary force raised by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. “We had gathered peacefully at Sibchu. They (read police) first fired tear gas, and as the crowd began to run helter-skelter, they attacked us with lathis. And moments later, they started firing at us,” said the girl.
Police firing kills two GJMM activists indefinite shutdown in hills Army being deployed

At a Saraswati puja pandal at Bowbazar in Kolkata on Tuesday. biswajit ghoshal

People flee a police lathi-charge at Sipchu in the Dooars on Tuesday. sns

SNS, SILIGURI/ KOLKATA, 8 FEB: Violence spread to Darjeeling and adjoining Dooars today after two Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) activists ~ Bimala Rai and Vikki Lama ~ were killed and 20 people, including police personnel, injured when police fired on some 3,000 GJMM demonstrators who had attacked them at Sipchu in the Nagrakata police station area of Jalpaiguri.  The GJMM has called an indefinite strike from 6 a.m. tomorrow in the Darjeeling Hills, the Terai and the Dooars. Cinchona and tea gardens would come under the purview of the strike while census work won’t.    Following the clash, GJMM supporters blocked roads and set several government vehicles and offices on fire in the Hills and the Dooars.  Trouble broke out around 11.30 a.m. when GJMM activists again set up  camps at Sipchu, which had been dismantled yesterday by joint forces. Chief secretary Mr Samar Ghosh said: “Two people were killed in police firing. Trouble is still continuing in the Hills and Jalpaiguri. Central paramilitary forces have been deployed." The state administration is in touch with both the home and defence ministries. Union home secretary Mr GK Pillai said in Delhi that the Centre would provide additional forces, if required. “We have asked the state government to look into the matter. (Central) Forces are available in West Midnapore district and if needed some more could be sent from there,” he said. Additional state forces have been sent to Darjeeling. At present there are four companies of Central forces in north Bengal along with a company of women CRPF.The ADG (Law and Order), Mr Surajit Kar Purakayasthya, said: “Ignoring prohibitory orders, around 3,000 GJMM activists, including their women's wing, had attacked police at Sipchu. Initially, police resorted to a lathi-charge, then used teargas and finally fired seven rounds to bring the situation under control.” The GJMM activists had allegedly blocked the road with wooden logs to deny access to police and Central forces from the Khunia More end. They also ignored prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC and the GJMM supporters blocked the road again and staged a demonstration. They started throwing stones at police. Police fired when a GJMM activist attacked a home guard  Karuna Tikka, with a khukri. At least 12 police personnel were injured when GJMM activists gheraoed  joint forces and stoned them. According to the GJMM, while two of their activists were killed in police firing, three others, Nitu, Prakash and Tappu, sustained bullet injuries and were admitted to Kalimpong hospital. The GJMM general secretary, Mr Roshan Giri, claimed that police fired on them without provocation when they were marching towards the Dooars with the national flag and photographs of Mahatma Gandhi. “The on-going hunger strike was to be withdrawn, but West Bengal police fired on our women and student activists. We condemn the incident and  want justice for the bloodshed. We demand Central government's intervention to create a separate state of Gorkhaland. We do not want to remain in Bengal from today,” said Mr Roshan Giri.  Meanwhile, the state has sent in a requisition for Army deployment in the Hills, said the chief secretary. The DM, Darjeeling, Mr PMK Gandhi, said the Army will be deployed by midnight, particularly in Kalimpong sub-division, though sources in Kolkata said tonight that the Army will only in the morning after an assessment of the situation.  Chief minister Mt Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee spoke to Union home minister Mr P Chidambaram today about the violence. Two additional CRPF companies will be sent to Dooars and Darjeeling by tomorrow, official sources said.  Mr Ranvir Kumar, IG, blamed the GJMM activists for the trouble. “The GJMM-backed Independent MLA from Kalchini, Mr Wilson Champamari, was leading the members of the GJMM frontal organisations in the attack on police. The blueprint of this attack was prepared in advance. We had to fire in self-defence since the agitators turned violent,” he said. “Vicky Lama, killed in police firing, had first attacked a woman home guard, Kalyani Tigga, with a chopper. Another GJMM activist was also killed in the firing. The MLA brought armed goons to provoke the police. We recovered two pipeguns from the spot. The MLA was arrested,” Mr Kumar added. The IG said 12 police personnel had been injured at Sipchu during the brickbatting.  Meanwhile, the state Left Front (LF) has pinned the entire responsibility of restraining the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha from spreading violence across Dooars and the Darjeeling Hills, on the Union government. LF chairman Mr Biman Bose today said, "During meetings with the Union home minister, the GJMM leadership had promised to withdraw their Darjeeling bandh and agitation programme. But after they returned to Darjeeling, the GJMM resumed their agitation and their politics of violence. It is very unfortunate that, in the name of conducting rallies and marches in Dooars and Siliguri, they are trying to foment ethnic clashes and unrest. Congress, Trinamul and BJP are remaining mute spectators. The Union home minister has to take up this issue, as the matter is the Centre's responsibility now.
SNS, DARJEELING/SILIGURI, 8 FEB: The Darjeeling town remained in the clutches of the arsonists for a better part of the day today with GJMM activists going berserk in a retaliatory move following the killing of two party activists at Sipchu in the Dooars. Several offices and vehicles were torched with the police and the administration looking helpless before a frantic mob.
The mob set the state government tourist office located on Mall Road near Chowrasta on fire. An Ambassador belonging to the district and sessions judge was also torched on the office premises of the district magistrate today.
The mob ransacked the Lebong police outpost and a police van was torched on the Singamari police outpost premises.
Roshan Giri said that his party will not settle for anything short of a statehood for Gorkhaland. “Enough is enough. We want separation from West Bengal. Under no circumstances will we withdraw or tone down our agitation. We will go to the last,” he roared.
He said that the party had sent a faxed message to the Union home minister detailing today's incident. “Scores of our supporters like Nita Khawas, Vedna Rai, Prakash Rai and Pappu Mangar received bullet injuries at Sipchu today. Police fired on peaceful agitators without the least provocation. Now they are concocting cock and bull stories to defame us,” Mr Giri contended. GJMM activists set two forest bungalows at Nagrakata and at Jaldhaka ablaze. They also attacked the forest beat office at Chapramari. GJMM supporters set fire to and damaged forest offices, libraries, police stations and offices of block divisional officers at various places, including Bijonbari, Mirik and Soureni Tea Estate.

IE, Kolkata: Two supporters of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) including a woman were killed after security personnel opened fire near Sibchu tea garden at Nagrakata in Jalpaiguri to stop the protesters from taking out a march in the district in violation of prohibitory orders. After the news of the death of the activists spread, the GJM men went on rampage in Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling districts.
Over 500 supporters of Nari Morcha, the women wing of GJM, were demonstrating today at Kumani. Clashes erupted when police dismantled illegal temporary camps of GJM built near Shipchu. Soon after the police action, GJM supporters tried to march towards Jalpaiguri where prohibitory orders were in place.

 In clash with protesters, several women police constables suffered serious injuries and they were rushed to the hospitals. Around 12 pm, the police opened fire at the protesters in which two GJM supporters were killed.
The deceased activists have been identified as Bimala Rai and Vicky Lama, while four other supporters are critical. At least 10 GJM supporters and 20 CRPF personnel received severe injuries during the clash.
According to sources in police, the forces opened fire after a GJM supporter attacked a woman constable — Karuna Tigga —with khukri, a sharp weapon, on her head. “The injured female constable is still unconscious and critical,” said a senior police official.
Ranveer Kumar, IG, North Bengal said, “It was not a peaceful protest. We have seized two pipe guns from the spot.” The official further said, “We have arrested Wilson Chapramari, MLA, Kalchini. Raids are being conducted in several areas.” Following the deaths of GJM activists, party supporters set police vehicles and the vehicle of a judge on fire in Darjeeling and set two public buses ablaze in Kalimpong. The protesters ransacked the office of the SP in Darjeeling. They also set eight government guest houses in Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling on fire and ransacked two police outposts at Alagiri and Pedong. Several trains at the North Frontier divisions were cancelled.
GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri said, “The CRPF fired at a peaceful procession killing two persons and critically injuring a number of people. Our hunger strike was on when the police came and they randomly shot our people. We have called for an indefinite strike and have also called for Chakka Jam.”
Giri further said they have sent a fax to the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram describing the incident. “We want the centre to intervene in the matter. We will not stay in West Bengal and we must have our own state—Gorkhaland,” he said.
At least 10,000 commuters and tourists meanwhile have been struck in various places in the region and the GJM have refused to allow any vehicle to move from the area. Naparajit Mukherjee, DGP, said, “We have asked for a report on the incident from the district. We are looking into the matter. If the situation demands, I will visit the place. However, at present, I do not have any such plan.” State Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh said they have requested for deployment of Army in Darjeeling but they are yet to get any response from the Defence Ministry.
GJM indulging in politics of turbulence: CPM
Photo: Darjeeling

IE, Kolkata:After two GJM supporters died in police firing in Sibchu on Tuesday, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said it was because of the politics of turbulence followed by GJM. He said in a statement released on Tuesday evening that after giving assurance to the Union Home Minister, the GJM has again resorted to bandhs and lawlessness.

Bose said Morcha supporters attacked police and the members of Gorkhaland Liberation Police (GLP) have forcefully occupied various schools and government buildings. “Bigger concern is that Morcha supporters are getting to Doars and Silliguri in the name of rally,” he said.He further said the Union Home Minister can bring back the Morcha leaders from politics of destruction. He also said the responsibility lies with Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee whose party has maintained links with GJM. Meanwhile state Congress spokesperson Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said there is mistrust between the government and the GJM.

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