EC observers meet hills district officials at Siliguri

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Darjeeling, Feb 15 (PTI) A five-member team ofElection Commission observers, led by Sudhir Kumar Rakesh,arrived at Siliguri today en route to the Darjeeling hillswhere the indefinite bandh called by GJM in support of itsdemand for a separate state entered the seventh day.

Officials here said that the observers'' visit came ata time when a food crisis had gripped the entire hills due tothe bandh that crippled the four hill sub-divisions, leadingto short supply of essential commodities.

The observers took stock of the law-and-ordersituation at a meeting with the district administration atSiliguri in which Darjeeling district magistrate Mohan Gandhi,SP Devendra Pratap Singh, senior administrative and policeofficials besides district election department officials werepresent.

The observers are likely to meet representatives ofpolitical parties, including the GJM, at Siliguri later.

Sources said that the observers may meet localadministrative and police officials, review law and ordersituation in the hills which witnessed unprecedented violenceon February 8 after two GJM supporters were killed in policefiring at Sipchu in adjoining Jalpaiguri district.

The observers, sources said, were likely to go to theviolence-hit areas in Darjeeling, Bijonbari and Kalimpong,besides Siipchu under Nagrakata police station during theirtwo-day visit to the hills.

Meanwhile, transportation of patients from interiorareas to Siliguri and Darjeeling has been hard hit due to thebandh.

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