Darjeeling Agitation Turns Severe, Army Called In


Update: The state government has called in the Army to tackle the tense situation. CM Mamata Banerjee has called for an emergency meeting at Darjeeling’s Raj Bhawan.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has called for Army deployment in Darjeeling in the wake of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters clashing with police. Several police vehicles were set on fire by the GJM supporters today leading to the state government asking for deployment of extra forces there.

Darjeeling: The situation in the Darjeeling hills once gain became fluid with Bimal Gurung announcing a two-hour dharna by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters barely 300m from Raj Bhavan when the Bengal cabinet would met there on Thursday afternoon. The agitators clashed with the police. The police have reportedly resorted to lathi-charge and tear gas shells in response to the supporters’ stone peltings against the police. One of the police is reportedly hurt. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha protests against CM Mamata in Darjeeling after the CM announced that Bengali should be made compulsory in WB.

The Morcha president had said the party would announce a new round of movement if the cabinet didn’t decide that Bengali wouldn’t be compulsory at schools in the hills, Dooars and the Terai.

The chief minister had said in Mirik on Monday that Bengali would be an optional subject at the schools in the hills and certain pockets of the Dooars and the Terai. But Gurung said Mamata’s words couldn’t be taken at face value and decided to continue with processions on the language issue.

Addressing the meeting, Gurung had said: “Tomorrow, we will hold massive marches from Batasia (about 6km from the town) and Singamari (3km from here). Morcha supporters of the town will join the procession from Batasia near the railway station.”

Gurung said more than 30,000 supporters would take part in the two rallies which would converge on Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan.

“We will all sit on the road for two hours. After that, depending on the outcome of the cabinet meeting, we will announce our next step. The cabinet should take a decision tomorrow that Bengali will not be made compulsory in the hills, Terai and the Dooars. If such a decision is taken, we will thank her. If no such decision is taken, we will announce another round of agitation,” said the Morcha president.

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