Sporadic clashes in the Hills the day after Gurung asks bandh to be imposed vigorously

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Darjeeling, September 15, 2017: Sporadic violence was reported from Kalimpong and Mirik, the day after Gurung had released a threat laced audio tape appealing to impose the bandh with greater vigor. With the Government threatening service break for teachers in Government and Government aided schools, teachers had started attending school.

 Sporadic clashes in the Hills the day after Gurung asks bandh to be imposed vigorously

On the other hand the government has also announced a one month interest free salary advance loan for Government and GTA employees who attend office before September 15 had resulted in GTA and Government offices opening up.

A cornered Gurung in a threat laced audio clip from an undisclosed location asked his supporters to clamp the bandh stringently from Friday and foil any attempt by the Government to open up offices and schools.

"People should come out on the streets and oppose all attempts by the Government to open up. For this if required people have to face baton charge by the police also. Do not open up until tripartite talks for Gorkhaland commence" stated Gurung.

He stated that the Government should understand the situation. "Youths are frustrated. I am afraid that there could be a rerun of the bloody agitation of the 80s. Till now I have managed to pacify them. But for how long?" questioned Gurung.

"Let us not have to force the offices shut. The Government of West Bengal will be to blame for any untoward incident" threatened Gurung.

The day after Gurung's directive to his supporters, in Kalimpong a vehicle carrying school students stopped and attacked by picketers.

Police intervened. Picketers then allegedly started pelting stones at the police. A clash ensued. Police resorted to baton charge. Tear gas shells were burst. The protestors burnt tires on the street. 15 protestors including Bimla Chettri, Municipal Councillor of ward 7 were arrested by the police. Chettri was allegedly leading the protests.

However the protestors continued shouting slogans in Dambar Chowk. At around 4pm police forced the protestors to empty the Dambar Chowk area.

Two State buses plied from Siliguri to Kalimpong and back with police escort. Picketers tried to stop the buses but were not successful.

In Mirik protestors took out a rally and blocked the main thoroughfare. When a vehicle carrying a patient tried to pass, the vehicle was allegedly stopped by the protestors.

Police resorted to bhaton charge to clear the thoroughfare. 30 protestors were rounded up.

Darjeeling and Kurseong remained peaceful on Friday with no untoward incident being reported. Government and GTA offices saw employees attending. The Darjeeling and Kurseong Municipalities also opened up after 92 days of the indefinite bandh.

"However from Saturday the employees will not attend office. On one side the Government has ruled out service break for employees who attend by September 15; on the other hand they are asking for joining letters from the employees. It is a clear pointer for break in service. Employees of the GTA will not attend office" stated Dipak Sharma of the Janmukti Asthahi Karmachari Sangh (JAKS.)

"We have recorded nearly 100 percentage attendance in the Government offices" claimed Joyoshi Dasgpta, District Magistrate, Darjeeling.

In Darjeeling, Kurseong and Mirik roadside vendors sold food grains, vegetables, fish and chicken thereby projecting a scene of normality.

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