After more than three months internet services resume in Darjeeling
Darjeeling, September 25, 2017: After more than three months of internet service shut down, the State Government has lifted restrictions on internet services in the Hills of Darjeeling district and Kalimpong. Internet services resumed at around 11pm on Monday.
Anuj Sharma, ADG (Law and Order) in a communiqué stated "Normalcy in hill districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong has been restored with the active participation of the residents of the two districts. Shops, business establishments and tea gardens have opened in both the districts. The newly formed GTA has started functioning effectively. The residents of the two districts are now getting actively involved in the religious festivities centering Durga Puja leading to normalcy in the region . Keeping in mind these facts the State administration has decided to lift the restrictions on use of internet in the two hill districts"
Incidentally the State Government had restricted internet services in the Hills of Darjeeling district and Kalimpong since June 20, 2017 with the renewed Gorkhaland agitation. The shut down had emerged as a major problem specially for Hill students not being able to fill up online registration forms along with online admission procedures.
Despite efforts by the District administration and the police, majority of the shops continue to remain closed in the Darjeeling Hills and Kalimpong.
Incidentally on Saturday 19 trader's associations had met in Darjeeling and unanimously decided that shops would be opened up from 9am to 5pm starting from Sunday.
Threat posters, incidents of arson and vandalizing along with a whispering campaign instilled a sense of insecurity which adversely affected the plans to open up.
Posters appeared in Kalimpong in the wee hours of Sunday threatening all who dared to open, with dire consequences.
The handwritten poster scribbled with red ink in Nepali language threatened to kill anyone who opens up shop or plies a vehicle. "We will kill anyone who tries to open up shops or drives a vehicle" stated the poster.
A person traveling to Darjeeling to meet his son who is a boarder in a reputed school was stopped at Chatakpur at 4pm on Sunday by masked miscreants brandishing Khukuris (traditional Gorkha swords.)
The driver and the person were then asked to step out off the vehicle. The driver was beaten up, the vehicle vandalised and torched.
"We have asked parents to abstain from travelling the Hills to meet their wards during the puja vacation" stated the Rector of the school talking to Oneindia.
In another incident a vehicle was torched in Lebong on Sunday morning. Despite efforts by the district administration and police not many shops opened up on Sunday and Monday.
"We are afraid to open up as we will then become soft targets. Despite eager to open up, we are afraid to" stated a trader on condition of anonymity.
The Bimal Gurung faction of the GJM have however complained of police excesses. "The police broke open locks of shops. This is undemocratic" retorted a GJM leader.
Meanwhile the three GJM front rung leaders including Darjeeling Municipality Chairman DK Pradhan, arrested from Gurugram, Haryana were produced at the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, SIliguri on Monday. The court has remanded the trio to eight days of police custody.
Pradhan along with PT Ola and Trilak Chand Roka were arrested from Sector 56 of Gurughram, Haryana on September 22 by the West Bengal CID.
They were first brought to Kolkata and produced at at a Kolkata Court. They were brought to Siliguri on a 2 day transit remand.
All three are implicated in the June 8 case of the Darjeeling Sadar police station.
On June 8, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters had clashed with the security forces in Darjeeling town. Police reports claim that more than 45 security force personnel were injured in the clash. A police booth was set on fire. 15 police vehicles were torched along with a State Government Bus. Army was deployed in Darjeeling, Ghoom and Kurseong to control the situation.
On that day GJM had taken out rallies and staged a sit in demonstration a short distance away from the Raj Bhawan where the State Cabinet meeting was taking place. Later the demonstration turned
violent and clashes had ensued.
Recently a CID team had entered Sikkim in search of Gurung and the others. Gurung however managed to slip out.