Shutdown in Siliguri against separate state demand

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Siliguri (West Bengal), May 14 (ANI): A regional non-political group, Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Bachao Committee, called for a 24-hour shutdown in West Bengal's Siliguri District on Friday to protest the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha's (GJM) demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

Opposing the demand of the GJM, the members of the committee said that West Bengal is for Bengalis, and the Gorkhas residing in the hills are outsiders.

"Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Bachao Committee called a 24-hour strike throughout West Bengal to protest and oppose the interim self-government as demanded by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha, which amounts to partition of the state," said Mukunda Majumdar, President of the Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Bachao Committee.

The streets wore a deserted look and only a few government buses were plying during the shutdown.

The marketplaces and establishments belonging to supporters of the protest also remained closed during the shutdown.

Police personnel were deployed across the city to prevent any clashes.

"We have allowed them to carry out their agitation peacefully. But if they become unruly or stop vehicles and threaten drivers, then we are forced to take action against them," said Aloke Dasgupta, Inspector in-charge at Siliguri Police Station.

"We have arrested about 12 persons, who indulged in some sort of violence, and have sent them to the police station," he added.

Gorkhas, who are ethnic Nepalese, have been demanding a separate state in Darjeeling hills, to help them protect their culture and heritage. (ANI)

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