Property bearing the brunt; Strike to continue in Darjeeling

Property bearing the brunt; Strike to continue in Darjeeling


Darjeeling/Siliguri: The worst victim in the ongoing Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM)-sponsored Gorkhaland movement in the queen of Hills is the heritage property as one after another is facing the wrath of the Gorkha activists. After Sonada and Gayabari Toy Train stations, which were set afire by the suspected Statehood protagonists, the latest casualty was age-old Raj Rajeswari hall. The hall was not only a symbol of Bengali Association, but was also amongst the oldest halls at Kurseong, which was almost reduced to ashes by the GJM activists last night. The suspected activists sprinkled kerosene on the building and set it on fire ; an incident which has brought about a feeling of dischantment among a section of denizens in the hills. The Gorkhaland protagonists also set afire Power Department bungalow at Bijonbari, a police booth at Mirik and the upper wooden floor of GP building at 17 Mile yesterday. Suspected GJM activists also set on fire Mirik Municipality building and vandalised the BDO office. Meanwhile, The Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC) yesterday's meeting decided to go ahead with the shutdown, which entered the 36th day today taking a toll of eight persons so far. The Gorkhaland activists were now trying to spread the movement from the hills to the plains of Terai and Dooars to give the movement a fillip. They also decided to meet again in New Delhi on August One where they would sit on hunger strike to press for their demand for Gorkhaland. The GMCC would dash off letters to the Governors of West Bengal and Sikkim regarding the alleged 'atrocities resorted to by the West Bengal Government'. They would meet Sikkim Guv on July 20 to take up with him the situation in the hills. They decided to carry on with the strike as people wanted it, otherwise the movement for statehood would lose its vigour. The meeting also decided to make the movement Delhi-bound, and with this purpose they would sit on hunger strike in the national capital from August one to mobilise support from other parties. The meeting alleged that the Amra Bangali cadres at Siliguri were indulging in loot raj and preventing ration from coming to hills from the plains. They threatened that if this didn't stop immediately, the situation in Darjeeling would turn for the worse. Meanwhile, at Kurseong, two lady teachers - Ms Pramila Pradhan and Ms Lily - returned the Shiksha Ratna award conferred on them by the West Bengal Government in support of statehood demand.

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