CM calls for Army deployment; Life crippled in Siliguri

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Kolkata/Siliguri, Jun 12 (UNI) West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today ordered deployment of Army in Siliguri and its adjoining areas following escalating ethnic violence over the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM)'s Gorkhaland demand, while the Amra Bangali-sponsored 48-hour ''Siliguri bandh '' brought life to a standstill.

''The Army will be deployed in Siliguri and its adjoining areas.

This has been decided after judging all aspects of the situation. We had talks with the Army, which will start patrolling as soon as possible,'' Mr Bhattacharjee said after a high level meeting at the state secretariat.

The Chief Minister also said the Government had called an all-party meeting at the state secretariat on June 17 to look for a way to end the stalemate over the renewed demand for a Gorkhaland.

The Government's decision to deploy Army came a day after the GJM activists clashed with the local people, roughed up tourists, set afire a vehicle and blocked roads in the plains.

Meanwhile, the Jana Jagaran (JJ), a newly launched common platform to protest the demand for statehood, today launched an ''economic blockade'' preventing vehicles from carrying essentials to hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong.

The Jana Jagaran had also organsied similar blockade for half-an-hour last evening. About 250-300 volunteers assembled at each blockade area to ensure that no vehicle be allowed from plains to the hills.

JJ joint secretary Aloke Kumar Hore said, '' We will not allow any vehicle to carry essentials to the hills until the GJM withdraw its agitation for Gorkhaland. '' He said the GJM's 60-hour relaxation of its ''indefinite bandh'' was a tactical ploy to store enough foodgrains and essentials so that a vigorous movement could be launched for a separate state.

Even Amra Bangali, a political outfit protesting division of West Bengal, called a 48-hour ''Siliguri bandh'', which had evoked huge response on the first day and partalysed life of this commercial town.

Traffic movement had come to a grinding halt as Siliguri was gateway to North East and Sikkim.

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