GJM-sponsored bandh paralyses life in hilly areas of Bengal

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Siliguri, Jun 9 (UNI) Life was disrupted throughout the three subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong in North Bengal today following the 24-hour bandh called by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) to protest the violent clash between the GJM and Jana Chetna activists last evening.

Darjeeling DIG D T Lepcha said prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC continued to be in force and the bandh was peaceful so far except some tension in Bagdogra and Naxalbari areas.

Around 40-50 Gorkha families had fled from the Baisapara and Raipara areas in Naxalbari, fearing further clashes, police said.

They said additional security forces had been deployed in all the three subdivisions and patrolling operations were on to prevent any untoward incident.

All the business establishments and the educational institutions remained closed. Vehicles too stayed off the road.

Meanwhile, the CPI(M) will start a rally from the Siliguri Baghajatin Club here at 1600 hours to voice their protests against the violence, party sources said.

At least 17 people were injured, two of them critically, when the GJM and the Jana Chetna activists clashed violently at Bagdogra last evening.

The clash erupted when the GJM activists blocked the National Highway, demanding a separate Gorkhaland. The workers of the Jana Chetna, an apolitical organisation opposed to the statehood demand, gathered there to lift the blockade, resulting in a violent clash in which 17 people sustained injuries.

The police had to lob teargas shells to disperse the warring groups.

UNI XC DPM SK BST1250

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