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Darjeeling Unrest: Rajnath Singh Seeks Report From Mamata Govt

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated: June 13, 2017, 6:45 PM IST
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Darjeeling Unrest: Rajnath Singh Seeks Report From Mamata Govt
File photo of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Kolkata: The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday sought a report from the West Bengal government on the current crisis in the hill districts.

Sources said the MHA sent a letter to the state Chief Secretary, Basudeb Banerjee, and asked him to apprise the ministry of the current political and law and order situation in the Hills.

For the last few days, massive protests have been reported from Darjeeling, after the government announced Bangla language as mandatory in schools. The situation turned bitter and tourism was badly effected after the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) called a one-month partial indefinite strike in the Hills.

Meanwhile, the GJM on Tuesday called for an all-party meeting in Darjeeling to discuss the future course of action against the state government’s forceful imposition of Bangla language, and its demand for a separate statehood.

TMC leaders skipped the meeting, but other pro-Gorkhaland parties joined the meeting and agreed to continue their ‘peaceful’ agitation for a separate state.

Speaking to News18, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said, “Time has come for all political parties in the Hills to join hands – those who want a separate state. This is a battle for the identity of Gorkhas, and under such situation, we should be united against external forces who are trying to divide us.”

Sources said GJM is also planning to send a team of leaders to Delhi to discuss the matter with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

On Tuesday, the bandh was more or less peaceful except for a few clashes at Chowkbazar area. Morcha supporters hurled stones at the security forces in some parts, and in self-defence, police resorted to lathi charge.

A senior police officer said, “GJM workers pelted stones at the police forces when they were prevented from enforcing a shutdown in government offices. We chased them away and later the situation was brought under control.”

Three senior IPS officers, including Jawed Shamim, Siddinath Gupta and Ajay Nand, who were asked by the state chief minister Mamata Banerjee to look after the law and order situation in the Hills, were seen personally monitoring the situation.

The GJM supporters alleged that police resorted to unprovoked lathi charge on their supporters during a peaceful procession. “The state government is now allowing us to protest peacefully. Raising voice against government’s anti-people policy is our right and we will continue to do so,” GJM, GS, Giri said.
On June 9, the Chief Minister stayed back in Darjeeling to ensure the safety of stranded tourists (due to the bandh called by GJM).
She also warned Bimal Gurung not to cross the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ as protests intensified in the Hills against the state government’s decision to make Bangla compulsory in government schools.

A team of Central BJP leaders, led by Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia, is planning to visit Darjeeling at the end of this month to assess the current political scenario in the Hills.
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