Darjeeling: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee may visit Darjeeling Hills during her 3-day visit to Siliguri, commencing on February 5.
The CM will be arriving at Siliguri on February 5 to inaugurate a "Chatra Yuva Karmashala" (youth student workshop) on that day. She will be returning to Kolkata in February.
Though her itinerary has not been made public yet, sources state that she will be visiting Darjeeling town on February 6 for a day. She will be returning from Darjeeling on February 7.
However, both the district administration and TMC leaders have preferred to remain tight lipped on the visit. When questioned on this, TMC leader and Tourism minister Gautam Deb stated, "We have no such information as yet."
The last time the CM had visited Darjeeling, was on June 7, 2017, to hold a cabinet meeting at the Raj Bhawan, Darjeeling. On June 8, 28 ministers had sat in a cabinet meeting at Raj Bhawan at 2pm.
The day, however, ended on a violent note. On June 8, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters had been taking out rallies and staged a sit-in demonstration, a short distance away from Raj Bhawan, where the state Cabinet meeting was taking place. The rallies arrived from Singmari, Darjeeling Railway Station and Batasia Loop at the Gorkha Ranga Mancha Bhawan and staged a sit in demonstration.
At around 3 pm, the GJM supporters torched an effigy of the CM. Suddenly, there were stones being pelted and amidst shouts, a stampede ensued. Some people even tried to bring down the police barricade.
Police resorted to baton charge and tear gas shells. A pitched battle ensued, with police personnel, CRPF officials, a lady police officer and others injured. 5 GJM supporters were also injured in the incident. Finally at around 5 pm, the situation was diffused and the GJM supporters and leaders left the area.
At around 7 pm, the 28 ministers who had attended the State Cabinet meeting had left Darjeeling for Siliguri.
CM Mamata Banerjee, however, had stayed back to oversee the situation. At 8pm, the army was deployed and they started flag marching.
Police claimed that more than 45 security force personnel were injured in the clash. A police booth was set on fire. 15 police vehicles were torched, along with a state government Bus.
Army was deployed in Darjeeling, Ghoom and Kurseong to control the situation. The CM had left the Hills on June 9. Since then, the CM has not visited the Hills, despite visiting the district a number of times.
On Friday, minister Gautam Deb inspected arrangements at the Kanchenjunga Stadium. "This is for the first time that such a student and youth TMC workshop is being organised in North Bengal. We want to sensitise the youth in the wake of the Panchayat elections and bring development to the doorsteps of the public," remarked Deb.