Army kept on stand-by; SSB routemarching Siliguri

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Kolkata/Siliguri, June 12 (UNI) Army was put on stand-by, while two companies of Sashastra Seema Bal (SBB) were routemarching Siliguri and its adjoining areas following escalating ethnic violence over the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha's (GJM) Gorkhaland demand, Home Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakravarty here said.

''Army has been alerted and kept on stand-by. Two companies of SSB jawans are staging a routemarch, while the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and Siliguri Emergency Force personnel are patrolling the vulnerable areas,'' Mr Chakravarty added.

Jalpaiguri Divisional Commissioner B L Meena also said a meeting was conducted in the Circuit House to assess the situation.

DIG, Darjeeling, D T Lepcha and Superintendent of Police Rahul Srivastav informed that six companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) from Lower Assam would be deployed tomorrow in Siliguri and Malbazar areas of Dooars.

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CRPC had been promulgated in four police station and one police post area, including Champasari, Baghajatin colony, Bhanunagar, Pradhanagar and Mahanada bridge, Mr Meena informed.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee 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 by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM).

The GJM said it would participate in the all-party meeting, but made it clear that the party would not give up the demand for Gorkhaland.

'' We will attend the all-party meeting, if it is without any pre-condition. But we shall not budge from our stand on Gorkhaland,'' GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri told UNI over phone.

Reiterating that Bengal cannot be divided, Left Front Chairman Biman Basu called for an end to the ethnic conflict and a negotiated solution to the problem over the Gorkhaland demand.

''The demand for a separate state has to be given up and the present situation has to be tackled through dialogues. This is the only way. Bengal can not be divided further,'' he said.

Calling for maintaining unity between the people of the hills and the plains, Mr Basu, also the CPI (M) State Committee Secretary, said it was necessary to stop the unrest over clashes between rival groups.

The situation aggravated after the GJM activists clashed with the local people, roughed up tourists, set afire a vehicle and blocked roads in the plains.

Eds: Pick up suitably from earlier series.


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