12-hr GJM bandh passes peacefully; security on high alert

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Siliguri, Jan 24 (UNI) The 12-hour Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM)-sponsored bandh in Darjeeling passed off peacefully today, amidst high security in different parts of the district.

Although no untoward incident took place, security was on high alert in the Darjeeling Hill sub-divisions of Kurseong, Kalimpong and Darjeeling, IC of Kurseong police station T K Rai said, adding that there was, however, no effect of the strike in Siliguri.

Several roads in the Kurseong sub-division were blocked, bringing traffic to a standstill. Toy train services were also terminated for the day. Darjeeling-bound vehicular traffic from Siliguri was also disrupted, including the NH-55.

The bandh, called to demand the immediate arrest of Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) Kurseong unit president Indra Narayan Pradhan, began from 0600 hours.

Their demand followed clashes between the rival groups in Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, especially in Kurseong sub-division, where the GJM and GNLF staged road blockades on Tuesday, and yesterday's alleged attack on GJM activists.

GJM spokesperson Binoy Tamang said his group had given a ''deadline'' of 1800 hours last night, until when the police had been asked to arrest Mr Pradhan. The police had urged the GJM to withdraw their strike. However, on failing to make the arrest, the police were unable to control the strikers.

Mr Pradhan allegedly led an attack yesterday, in which two persons received bullet injuries. Police then raided Mr Pradhan's house and seized a revolver and a double barrel gun, and arrested his wife Deepa Pradhan.

Mr Pradhan is reportedly absconding. His wife has been remanded in judicial custody.

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