Darjeeling tourism industry dealt body blow by GJM shutdown

Meanwhile the chief minister Mamata Banerjee reviewed the situation with senior administration and police officials in Kolkata.

Reports from Darjeeling in West Bengal said protesters and riot police hurled stones at each other and a auto was set ablaze after a series of raids today on premises connected with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung, whose separatist campaign is spiralling deeper into violence.

Rubbishing the claims of police about the seizure of "arms and explosives", he said, "West Bengal Police raided the residence of our president and have claimed to recover "heavy arms and explosives". Latest report of arson in hills happened after the pro-Gorkhand supporters attacked policemen, burnt two NBSTC buses, a media vehicle, a police outpost and a government office, Despite deployment of six columns of Army, ten companies of para-military forces in addition to state armed and combat forces, the overall situation in the Hills was volcanic and tense following increasing reports of arson.

SP Chaturvedi was injured in the stone pelting. "No peace loving person can have this amount of arms in store", he claimed. If the police do lathicharge on Thursday, we will call an indefinite bandh in the Hills.

"The state government is indulging in politics of witch-hunting", Giri, the GJM general secretary, said.

"This is a political problem, not a law and order situation".

"We are protesting peacefully, in a democratic manner, but the state government is using its machinery to commit atrocities in an effort to crush our movement".

Many locals and activists led by the GJM have always been demanding the creation of a new Indian state.

Security personnel trying to escape from violent GJM supporters after the raid at the party office adjacent to chief Bimal Gurung's house on June 15, 2017.

GJM central committee member Sandip Chettri said protest rallies would be brought out on Friday in protest against the police action. "We strongly condemn the raid and ransacking at our leaders house", a woman GJM activist asserted.

The agitation took a turn for the worse as the GJM revived its demand for separate statehood for Darjeeling and threatened to prolong the stir.

Union Parliamentary Affairs and BJP leader Ananth Kumar held the Chief Minister responsible for the ongoing unrest, but urged her to hold discussions with the agitators in the hills.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, "Law will take its course".

"The administration had no information about the brewing tension".

  • Leroy Wright