Police “picked up” a senior GJM leader from his residence following an attempt by some party supporters to torch a PWD office in Bijanbari area. A raid at Binay Tamang’s house was conducted last night. Leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which is spearheading an agitation for a separate state, said Vikram Rai, son of GJM MLA Amar Rai, was ‘picked up’ by the police. Vikram is the in-charge of the GJM’s media cell. Meanwhile, shops, hotels and other business establishments, barring pharmacies, remained closed on the third day of the GJM-sponsored indefinite shutdown in the Darjeeling hills. The police are on high alert after yesterday’s violence and arson. Security forces are conducting route marches in various parts of the hills.
The indefinite bandh was called after the police on Thursday raided the premises of GJM chief Bimal Gurung. The GJM had earlier called a shutdown of the offices of state government and the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, which its controls. The Centre yesterday decided to put on hold the dispatch of additional paramilitary forces to Darjeeling as the state is yet to send it a report on the ground situation. The turmoil, which was set off by the state government’s announcement on introduction of compulsory teaching of Bengali language in schools, has begun impacting daily life in the hills with schools, markets and even bank ATMs shut.