Army deployed in Darjeeling after violence by GJM supporters

Darjeeling: Opposing Mamata Banerjee's policies, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters on Thursday indulged in violence and arson while attempting to march to the venue of a cabinet meeting presided by the West Bengal CM. The GJM has also called for an indefinite strike. Asked about the GJM's agitation, Mamata Banerjee said, "They have the democratic right".

Earlier in the day, the GJM clashed with inadequate security forces, torching at least 15 vehicles and injuring many men in khaki while opposing "imposition" of Bengali language in schools in Hills.

The chief minister also announced the setting up of West Bengal Higher Civil Service (Executive), which will look into the promotion of WBCS officers to the IAS posts within a short span of time.

The CM - who was literally spending tense hours with her Cabinet of 30 Ministers, including those accused in the Narada, Sharada and other scams inside the Raj Bhavan - promptly rejected the agitation as an issueless one fanned by GJM chief Bimal Gurung to gain back relevance ahead of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration elections. Let them do it.

Kolkata: The attractive Darjeeling hills turned into a warzone today as Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) members went on a rampage.

"We have done so many development works here".

While some of Banerjee's Cabinet ministers are set to return to the plains (Siliguri) late in the evening, the Chief Minister has made a decision to stay back and oversee arrangements for countering the strike-call by GJM, sources said.

Banerjee, however, didn't pay heed to Gurung's statement and said "I held a cabinet meeting here to take up development projects for the Hills".

Mamata Banerjee said: "They are protesting over a non-issue".

"The situation in the hills is a matter of grave concern".

This announcement has infuriated the GJM since they want Nepali as a language or Hindi, but they have always been opposed to making Bengali as a mandatory language in all schools in the state. "Let there be competition for development", she said.

"As part of our ongoing administrative reforms and good governance initiatives and to give more boost to development works, we have chose to create West Bengal Higher Civil Service (Executive) from among the talented and meritorious officers of West Bengal Civil Service (Executive) to take up positions of higher responsibility in the government", Mamata said. "What the chief minister has been doing in the hills is nothing but a political gimmick for the last few years. There should be no provocation, instead there should be talks and peace should be restored", Mishra said.

The State administration has promised that despite the bandh call, tourist movement would not be hit.

  • Leroy Wright