Darjeeling, July 9, 2017: Owing to the present situation of the Hills the meeting of the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GLMCC) will be held on July 11 instead of 18th.
In the presence of the Army, processions with the dead bodies of the Gorkhaland activisits killed in alleged police firing were brought out in Darjeeling on Sunday.
The usual police force and CRPF were not deployed at the Chowk Bazar during at the time of the processions. There were reports of sporadic incidents of arson and vandalizing in Government properties throughout the day.
In another development the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has pledged support to the Gorkhaland demand.
"Sharad Pawar of the NCP has pledged support to the Gorkhaland demand. On behalf of the party, NCP General Secretary Fazal Ahmed over the phone extended support to the demand. NCP MP Fazal Ahmed visited the Gorkhaland rally in Delhi. If Gorkhaland Bill is tabled in the Parliament the NCP MPs will support it" claimed Binay Tamang, Assistant Secretary, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM.) The NCP. The NCP has 6 Lok Sabha MPs and 5 Rajya Sabha MPs.
"The GLMCC meeting will be held in Mirik on July 11. Owing to the police excesses resulting in the killing of 3 Gorkhaland supporters in the past two days we decided to bring forward the meeting. The present situation revolving around the killings will be the main agenda of discussion" stated Kalyan Dewan, Convenor of the GLMCC (a conglomeration of pro Gorkhaland forces.
Along with the alleged blockade of essential commodities from the plains to the Darjeeling Hills, Kalimpong and Sikkim will also be discussed. "The State Government using the police is blockading the movement of essential commodities to the Hills from the plains. We have to decide on our future course of action regarding these issues" alleged Dewan.
NCPs support to Gorkhaland will also be discussed in the meeting. The GLMCC has been demanding the immediate Central intervention in the ongoing impasse. Pro-Gorkhaland leaders from the Hills are also camping in Delhi trying to muster support for Gorkhaland.
When questioned on whether there were any feelers from the Union Government which could have prompted an early GLMCC meeting, Dewan preferred to remain sketchy. "Our stand is clear. We have categorically stated that we will sit with the Union Government over the single point agenda of Gorkhaland alone. We will not discuss anything else. Our agitation will continue." stated Dewan.
Meanwhile reacting to concerns expressed by Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling over the blockade of National Highway 10, the lifeline of Sikkim owing to the ongoing unrest, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in a series of tweets stated that he had a telephonic conversation with the Sikkim CM.
"Spoke to Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling regarding the security situation in the state and areas in neighbouring West Bengal. I assured him that the Centre will ensure the safety and security of NH10 and do everything possible to save people of the state from any misery" tweeted Rajnath Singh.
Processions were taken out in Darjeeling with the dead bodies of the Gorkhaland activists who had died in alleged police firing on Saturday. The funeral procession of Suraj Bhusal was brought out from Toonsoong near Chowrasta. The funeral procession of Samir Gurung was brought out from Singamari through the Birch Hill road. Both the processions merged at the Mall and went down to the Chowk Bazar.
The usual deployment of police force and CRPF was not done at the Chowk Bazar on Sunday. Instead an army column was deployed at the Chowk Bazar at the time of the funeral procession. Presence of police and CRPF could aggravate agitators hence the non deployment during the processions, feel observers.
Chanting "CRPF go back. Bengal police go back" the procession with the dead bodies moved through the Chowk Bazar under the watchful eyes of the Army personnel.
There were incidents of sporadic violence and arson in the Hills on the 25th day of the indefinite bandh in the Hills. At around 2pm a mob torched the Sonada police outpost. The outpost was totally gutted. On Saturday trouble had broken out at Sonada over the death of one Tashi Bhutia in alleged CRPF firing. A mob had tried to set fire at the police outpost and police barracks at Sonada on Saturday also.
The Sub Divisional Officer's office in Kurseong along with the Block Development Office was torched in Kurseong. A forest department lodge at Gairigaon in Kurseong was also set on fire.
The Gram Panchayat office in Pokriabong in the Darjeeling sub division torched. The police outpost in Thorbu near Mirik was ransacked and torched.
A police outspost was also attacked and ransacked at Sukhiapokhari in the Darjeeling sub division. 4 policemen who were present in the outpost were also injured. Police sources claimed that 4 rifles have gone missing from the Sukhipokhari police outpost.