Govt offices vandalised by GJM supporters
With the administration and police tightening its grip to foil the indefinite office bandh call from Monday, there was a clear change of strategy in the Morcha camp. The Morcha now want Central intervention in the impasse and speed up the process of creation of Gorkhaland.
Though the Morcha picketers did not come out in the streets in Darjeeling town to impose the office bandh, there were sporadic incidents of arson and vandalism throughout the day. Three people were arrested in connection with arson. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway did not ply.
On Sunday, GJM Chief Bimal Gurung had stated that the Morcha picketers would forcefully impose the office bandh and even had asked tourists to leave town as the situation is slowly turning bad. On Tuesday GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri sang a different tune. "We appealed to the public not to attend office as part of our non-cooperation movement for Gorkhaland. We did not forcefully impose the bandh, " added Giri.
In the wee hours on Monday, the Block Development Office at Bijanbari was torched allegedly by Morcha supporters. On Monday morning the State Electricity Board office at Sonada was vandalised. At around 12:30 pm the office of Assistant Engineer, PWD on Lebong Cart Road was torched. GJM picketers also tried to close down the Panchayat office at Sukna in the plains.
"Three persons have been arrested in connection with the arson. Raids are on for nabbing others connected with these cases, " stated N Rameshbabu, ADG, North Bengal.
"We had around 93% attendance in Government offices. There were some sporadic incidents but the situation is under control" stated Joyoshi Das Gupta, DM, Darjeeling. The attendance in Government offices in Kalimpong was 92%.
The 12 member team started special audit in the GTA. They will also be conducting audits in the Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong municipalities, stated Barun Roy, Principal Secretary, GTA.
"We want the Centre's intervention in the ongoing impasse. We want the Union Government to initiate the process for the formation of Gorkhaland, " stated Giri.
Meanwhile the TMC has claimed that their supporters are being threatened by the GJM with dire consequences of they do not join the GJM fold.
"We have requested for the setting up a police camp in Badamtam," stated TMC Spokesperson Binny Sharma.