4 houses set ablaze in Gurung stronghold Patleybash
Darjeeling: As many as four houses were razed to the ground in a devastating fire in the wee hours on Sunday at Patleybash, the GJM stronghold near Darjeeling.
The fire broke out at Patleybash, 6 km from Darjeeling town. The area houses the GJM party office and Gurung's residence.
The houses of Dinesh Theeng, Rajesh Theeng, Praving Subba along with AC Gupta were razed to the ground.
Incidentally, Dinesh Theeng and Pravin Subba are close confidants of Bimal Gurung. Theeng has been implicated in a number of cases including running IED manufacturing units. He is absconding.
"Around midnight the fire broke out. Fire brigade personnel arrived at around 3 am. The local residents tried to douse the flames," stated a local resident.
The houses were empty at the time of the fire. A ration shop used to be run from the residence of A C Gupta.
"We live in Darjeeling town but come here every week to distribute ration. I arrived at around 3 am this morning. My house and shop is totally gutted. We have not been able to save anything," stated A C Gupta.
Gurung's supporters claim that the police, including Binay Tamang's supporters, have torched the houses.
"The houses were set ablaze by Gurung's supporters to wipe out documents and evidences which could have been used against Gurung," alleged state Tourism Minister Goutam Deb. CID officials from Siliguri along with the cops visited the spot.
"A forensic team will also pay a visit for investigations," stated ADG Siddhinath Gupta.
Meanwhile, talks between the Hill parties and the state government will take place at Nabanna on Monday at 3 pm.
Jan Andolan Party will not be attending the meeting.
Representatives of the Board of Administrators, GTA met the Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi in Kolkata. The team comprised Chairman Binay Tamang and Vice Chairman Anit Thapa.
"We demanded that tripartite talks should immediately be initiated for Gorkhaland. We also demanded an NIA or any high level inquiry into the series of explosions that have occurred in the Hills including the recovery of huge cache of arms including AK47s recently. We have assured the Governor that the GJM will be walking the path of democratic agitation and will not indulge in any undemocratic means. The Governor assured us that he will communicate this to the Union government," stated Tamang.
He dubbed their meeting with the Governor and earlier with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as a courtesy visit after the formation of Board of Administrators.