GORKHA POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Morcha damages tourist cars – GJM denies involvement, says State & Centre apathy encouraging anarchy ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU – unbiased editing without Bengal’s political agenda ?!!
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.”
GJM bandh paralyses Darjeeling, agitators damage 6 vehicles – Darjeeling areas ‘tactically’ being pushed towards anarchy, Bengal’s objectives met ?!!
FROM THE TIMES OF INDIA
SILIGURI, May 15, 2010, (PTI): 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.
“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.
GJM activists stone Sikkim-bound vehicles – veracity of reports confirmed or totally Bengal tilted ?!!
Siliguri, May 15 (IANS): 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).
Hill bandh marked by violence – superiority show complete ?!!
From The Statesman
SILIGURI, 15 MAY (SN): The first day of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha sponsored two-day bandh in the Darjeeling Hills brought life to a standstill in the Hills today.
Bandh supporters attacked eight Sikkim bound vehicles at Lohapool and Tarkhola in Kalimpong sub-division today. While seven of the attacked vehicles were had tourists in them, one belonged to a media organisation. The attackers pelted stones at the vehicles and detained them. Police from Kalimpong rescued the vehicles and arranged for their journey to Sikkim.
The GJMM secretary Mr Roshan Giri claimed that his organisation was not involved in the hostilities. “Whoever did it was trying to give the GJMM a bad name. We do not believe in violence,” Mr Giri said.
CRIME WATCH: Four car thieves held in West Bengal – spate of stolen cars & bikes in Kalimpong and the region, any co-relation ?!!
FROM DAILY LATEST NEWS
Siliguri, May 15 (IANS): Four car thieves, including two Nepali nationals, have been arrested in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district, police said Saturday.
Police said some of the cars stolen by the gang were believed to have reached some militant groups who were now using them with false number plates.
In a Friday night swoop at the Uttaryan township near Siliguri, police arrested a husband-wife duo from Assam — Anand Karki Chhetri and Sarita Sharma.
Following their interrogation, two Nepali nationals, Roshan Thapa and Ram Kumar Chhetri, were picked up from the Bagdora area the same night.
A 9 mm pistol, 12 live cartridges, a Border Security Force (BSF) uniform, a scorpio car, forged car papers, and false identity cards of the BSF and the army were recovered from the four arrested.
“They used to wear BSF and army fatigues to avoid suspicion. They have earlier operated in Bhubaneswar in Orissa and Durgapur of the state,” Siliguri Additional Superintendent of Police Gourav Sharma told reporters.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (Darjeeling Range) N. Ramesh Babu said police were interrogating the four to find out whether they used to supply cars to militants.