Section 144 clamped in the outskirts of Siliguri to prevent spilling of the agitation from the Hills
Darjeeling: Section 144 CRPC was clamped by the District Administration in the Dagapur area on the outskirts of Siliguri to check the ongoing Gorkhaland agitation from spilling to the plains. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha ( GJM) had lined up a rally in this area to commemorate "Sahid Diwas" (Martyrs' day) on Thursday.
The GJM had lined up a rally from Sukna to Darjeeling More popular as Dagapur, on the outskirts of Siliguri town. The Dagapur area has 10 education institutes including schools, colleges and technical institutes.
The atmosphere in Dagapur remained charged with anticipation of trouble. From early in the morning there was a huge police contingent including Rapid Action Force, Combat Force deployed in the area led by two Assistant Commissioners of Police, Siliguri Metropolitan Police. Armed with water cannons there were prepared to tackle any eventuality.
Majority of the education institutes closed down. Section 144 CRPC was clamped in the area. "This is a preventive measure" stated a police officer. Using the public address system the clamping of Section 144 was announced thereby prohibiting gatherings and rallies. With the agitators not bringing out the scheduled rally, the day passed off without any untoward incident.
Hemant Gautam of the GJM stated "We were all set to take out a rally on the occasion of Sahid Diwas. Owing to the Section 144 imposed in the area we decided against it. We do not want any confrontation with the police. "
Along with the Darjeeling and Kalimpong Hills, Sahid Diwas was observed at Sukna, Panighatta, Upper Bagdogra in the Terai region along with different area of Dooars.
Incidentally pro Gorkhaland parties commemorate martyr's day on July 27 in memory of more than 1200 people who laid down their lives during the violent 28 month Gorkhaland agitation of the 1980s spearheaded by Subash Ghising and the GNLF. The day in particular is in honour of the 18 who died during a police firing on July 27, 1986, when GNLF supporters had gathered to burn Article 7 of the 1950 Indo-Nepal peace and friendship treaty, in Kalimpong.
Meanwhile in Darjeeling the GJM declared that they will be launching a Mushti Daan (collecting handful of food grains and vegetables from households) programme. "On 30th July we will be handing over the collected items to the District Magistrates of Darjeeling and Kalimpong; SDOs and BDOs of the Hills to send to Nabanya- the State Secretariat as a symbolic mark of protest against the Governments blockade of essential commodities including food grains, vegetables, medicines to the Hills" declared Amar Rai, GJM leader.
With the fast unto death launched by the Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha (GJVM- youth wing of the GJM) in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik and Kalimpong hitting the 7 day mark, condition of the hunger strikers deteriorated steadily. Joyoshi Dasg Gupta, District Magistrate, Darjeeling paid a visit at the hunger strike venue and requested the hunger strikers to lift it. The youths however declined medical assistance and declared that they would continue till Gorkhaland goal is reached.