Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha activists held fresh demonstrations on Wednesday for Gorkhaland as security forces kept a strict vigil in the hills which remained tense on the 14th day of the indefinite shutdown.
The army, meanwhile, was withdrawn from the restive hills after the state government sought its pull-out.
The GJM supporters had torched an office of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration last night prompting the police to briefly detain two central committee members of the party, Samuel Gurung and RB Bhujal. Both were released after two hours. Protesters also ransacked a panchayat office in Bijanbari area, 25 kilometres from Darjeeling.
The army was withdrawn from the hills as the state government sought its withdrawal, a defence spokesman said in Kolkata. "Six columns of the Army were deployed in the hills on 8 June on requisition from the state government. The army was withdrawn on 24 June as the state government sought its withdrawal," he said.
Internet services continued to remain suspended in the hills. Hundreds of GJM supporters held demonstration at Chowkbazar with the security forces keeping a strict vigil.
Children in traditional dress were also seen in the demonstration. Some of them had 'We want Gorkhaland' slogan written on their chests.
Tourism Minister and TMC leader Gautam Deb slammed the GJM for using children to serve their interests. "Do children understand anything about Gorkhaland? It is a violation of the human rights. We condemn it," he said.
An all-party meeting is scheduled to be held in Kalimpong on Thursday to discuss the next course of action. "We have demanded withdrawal of security forces from the hills and restoration of internet services but nothing has been done. So we will discuss how the agitation can be intensified," a top GJM leader said.
The police and security forces patrolled the streets and kept a tight vigil on all entry and exit routes. Barring pharmacies, all shops, schools, colleges were closed.
In few areas of Darjeeling GJM supporters burnt copies of the GTA accord.
The GTA agreement was signed by the Centre, the state government and the GJM in 2011 following a prolonged unrest in the hills.
The GJM said that its 45 members had resigned from the GTA last week and the administrative body had ceased to exist.
Published Date: Jun 28, 2017 21:57 PM | Updated Date: Jun 28, 2017 21:57 PM