Darjeeling bandh: Amidst the unrest surrounding West Bengal’s Darjeeling, Bimal Gurung who is the chief of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of an attack that took place on his house. He said, “Admin unlawfully attacked my house, our party office in instruction of Mamata Banerjee.” He further threatened the CM by saying, “Such attack dangerous for democracy…. Our party members and opposition parties will reply of that atrocity,” according to an ANI notification. Bimal Gurung’s office was raided by the police in the wake of protests taking place for a separate state of Gorkhaland carved out of West Bengal. Darjeeling Superintendent of Police, Akhilesh Chaturvedi in his statement said that they were tipped off about the GJM workers. “We received information that the GJM were collecting arms, so we conducted the raids. We recovered prohibited arms, arrows, bows, explosives and a large amount of cash,” he said.
After the raids, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha called for an indefinite bandh in Darjeeling. Roshan Giri, General Secretay of the GJM as quoted by Indian Express said, “We have called for an indefinite strike over the high-handedness of the police”.
On Wednesday, taking the situation of Darjeeling under consideration, Centre rushed 400 additional paramilitary personnel to Darjeeling. Now there are a total of 1,400 security personnel to administer the condition and assist the local administrators in restoring the peace and normalcy. The home ministry in a statement said, “As many as 400 paramilitary personnel were sent to Darjeeling to help the state government on their request to maintain law and order.”
Here are the LIVE updates of the whole situation-
10: 16 PM: Rohit Sharma one of the three MLAs was quoted by PTI as saying, “We have told the governor that the people who are indulging in arson are outsiders and have nothing to do with the GJM.” He added, “We have requested the governor to inform the Centre about the situation in Darjeeling and the sufferings of people owing to the state government’s stance.”
9: 48 PM: As per the reports by PTI, GJM MLAs have accused the TMC government of trying to turn a “peaceful political movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland into a law and order situation.”
9: 16 PM: GJM MLAs – Amar Singh Rai, Sarita Rai and Rohit Sharma from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong respectively – met the governor at the Raj Bhawan here and apprised him of the situation in the hills.
8: 43 PM: Security personnel took out route marches in the hills as Army patrolled the areas around Patlebas and Singamari where a large cache of weapons, explosives and cash were recovered yesterday.
8: 24 PM: Today, the violence and arson marked the second day of the indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling hills, with Army and paramilitary forces patrolling the streets to help restore calm.
8: 07 PM: Jan Andolan Party (JAP) leader Harka Bahadur Chetri criticised the Mamata Banerjee government for trying to counter the movement by deploying security forces. “It will further alienate the people in the hills. The solution cannot be found by deploying the police”, Chetri, a former GJM MLA who had formed JAP, said, while stressing that a meeting should be called to tackle the situation. “Our first demand too is Gorkhaland, but it should be taken forward through dialogue,” he added.
7: 13 PM: PTI quoted GJM general secretary Roshan Giri as saying, “Time for autonomy, GTA, DGHC is over. Now the fight will not stop until and unless our demand for Gorkhaland is fulfilled.”
6: 46 PM: Meanwhile in the evening, Gorkha Janamukti Morcha supremo Bimal Gurung today asked the people in the hill station to be prepared for the “final battle” for achieving the separate Gorkhaland state.
6: 32 PM: Gorkhaland supporters had yesterday hurled petrol bombs and stones and fought pitched battles with police even as the police burst teargas shells and used batons to disperse the crowd. The GJM had earlier called a shutdown of the offices of the state government and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), which its controls.
6: 01 PM: PTI reported that the bench has also directed the state to make an estimate of the loss of government and private property due to the agitation. It has asked petitioner Ramaprasad Sarkar to serve notice to GJM chief Bimal Gurung and party general secretary Roshan Giri, who are respondents in the petition.
5: 24 PM: The directions were passed by a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T Chakraborty. The bench passed the directions while reiterating earlier orders of the Supreme Court and of the Calcutta High Court that bandh or general strikes are illegal.
5: 05 PM: As per the reports by PTI, the Calcutta High Court has ordered the state government to submit an interim report assessing the damage caused by bandh activists within 2 weeks.
5: 00 PM: The Calcutta High Court today directed the West Bengal government to take steps to restore peace and normalcy in unrest-hit Darjeeling hills where a shutdown has been called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
4: 53 PM: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was quoted by PTI as saying, “We want peace in the hills. There is peace in Bengal. If anybody violates law, the administration will take action. Law will take its own course”.
4: 23 PM: Police had seized over 300 weapons, including pickaxes, bows and arrows, explosives, night vision binoculars and cash during yesterday’s raids on the premises connected with Gurung, as reported by PTI.
3: 53 pm: The Centre had yesterday rushed an additional 400 paramilitary personnel to Darjeeling to help the local administration restore peace which was in addition to 1000 personnel already stationed there.
3: 26 PM: Gorkhaland supporters had yesterday hurled petrol bombs and stones and fought pitched battles with police even as the police burst teargas shells and used batons to disperse the crowd.
3: 00 PM: On condition of anonymity, a senior government official was quoted by PTI as saying, “We will not allow anybody to hamper law and order situation in the hills and law will take its own course. If anybody is found trying to break the law, he/she will face action and the administration will handle the situation in a very tough manner.”
2: 30 PM: Meanwhile, the normal life in the hills is affected. The schools, markets and ATMs remain closed in response to the shutdown. The stranded tourists were also affected as most of the hotels, restaurants, eateries remained shut, and few buses for coming down to Siliguri in the plains.
2: 10 PM: As per the reports by PTI, a panchayat office in Mirik which is 50 km from Darjeeling was set ablaze by some suspected GJM supporters today.
01:30 PM: According to an official, six suspected GJM supporters were today detained after they set afire a forest office at Tarakhola,
Kalimpong yesterday night.
01:10 PM: In the latest development, stray incidents of violence were reported from Darjeeling and nearby areas and six suspected Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters have been detained on the second day of the shutdown called by the outfit.
12:50 PM: After the raid, Gurung appealed to all people to be united for this final fight. He said, “I appeal to everyone to be united for this final fight. Mamata Banerjee cannot suppress our demand.”
12:10 PM: Yesterday, police recovered a cache of arms, arrows and cash during raids conducted at various GJM locations.
11:50 AM: The hill outfit has called an indefinite shutdown after police raided premises connected to its chief Bimal Gurung and some other leaders.
11:35 PM: The state government had earlier replaced Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) principal secretary Ravi Inder Singh and brought in Barun Ray and appointed C Murugan as the new secretary of GTA in place of Donbosco Lepcha.
11:20 AM: The West Bengal government on Thursday transferred Darjeeling Deputy Superintendent of Police Pradip Kumar Singha and replaced him with Avijit Mitra.
11:10 AM: Union Minister Ananth Kumar on June 15, criticised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her “inept handling” of the situation in Darjeeling.
11:00 AM: Army has been deployed at many locations in Darjeeling including GJM party office at Singamari, amid call for bandh.
10:50 AM: As the indefinite strike, called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha continues, tourists face problem