Gorkhaland agitation reaches near ‘sensitive’ Indo-Bhutan border
Darjeeling, July 31: As the Centre is maintaining a deafening silence over the ongoing Gorkhaland agitation in Darjeeling and its neighbouring areas, the protest on Sunday reached the sensitive town of Jaigaon, which lies on the India-Bhutan border.
Due to the assembly of agitators in Jaigoan, movement of vehicles between the two neighbouring countries came to a halt.
Experts feel that the agitation reaching places of strategic importance like Jaigoan is not a good sign. On Saturday, the supporters of Gorkhaland, demanding a separate state for the Nepali-speaking people residing in Darjeeling and its suburbs to be carved out of West Bengal, staged a protest in Sukna.
Sukna holds great geographical and military importance to the country. Sukna is very close to Siliguri, the city at one end of the Chicken's Neck. Moreover, the distance between the Nepal and Bangladesh borders from Sukna is around 50 km. The headquarters of Trishakti Corps or the 33 Corps of the army is also in Sukna.
The protest turned violent as hundreds of Gorkhaland supporters threw petrol bombs at the police, The Times of India reported. The police, on its part, retaliated to quell the protest. The protesters also held a hunger strike at Jaigoan.
The hills of Bengal have been witnessing violent protests since June 8 after the Gorkhaland agitation broke out. This time, the agitation has been spearheaded by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).
On Sunday, the GJM gave the Centre a 10-day deadline to intervene in the Gorkhaland statehood agitation on its behalf. The GJM also warned that if the Centre fails to do so, it would further intensify the agitation in the plains and the hills.
On Monday, the indefinite bandh in the hills entered its 47th day. Due to the bandh, life has come to a standstill across Darjeeling and its suburbs. In the hills, schools, colleges, shops and several offices have remained closed for more than a month now.