Darjeeling unrest: Pro-Gorkhaland supporters set ablaze a panchayat office and damaged a few government vehicles on the 28th day of the indefinite shutdown. The agitation spearhead Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) took out a rally at Chowkbazar here with the body of Ashok Tamang, who died last night in a hospital where he was admitted after being allegedly injured in Saturday’s clashes between the police and GJM supporters. The GJM claimed that Tamang received serious head injuries during a baton charge by the police.
The police, however, said it was not clear whether he died of injuries or some other reason. “We are waiting for the post-mortem report. We can only comment after seeing it,” a senior police officer said. The panchayat office in Mirik sub-division was set on fire by the activists, who also damaged a few government vehicles in the hills, the police said. Internet services remained suspended for the 25th day. While an Army column, comprising around 50 personnel, has been deployed in Kalimpong since Monday night, two columns have been positioned at Darjeeling and Sonada from Saturday after large-scale violence and arson took place in those areas.
The GJM has claimed that eight of its supporters have been killed in police firing, including four on Saturday. But the police have said two persons have been killed in the hills, including a truck driver whose vehicle was set ablaze during the over month-long agitation that turned violent on June 17. A meeting of the hill parties in Mirik had yesterday decided to go on with the indefinite shutdown and start a hunger strike to press the demand for a separate state of ‘Gorkhaland’ from July 15. The police and the security forces maintained a tight vigil at all entry and exit points.