Trouble in the Hills:Darjeeling Unrest

 

The recent spate of violence in Darjeeling has put a serious question mark in the constitutional piety of India, which is a testimony of India’s irreversible cultural fabric we’re proud of. In the past few days, the entire Darjeeling district has come under scrutiny. It’s been over a month since the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha launched its protests in wake of the Mamata Banerjee government’s order to include Bengali as one of the compulsory subjects in the syllabus of the schools of Darjeeling.

The Gorkhas have been an indigenous community since centuries known for their dedication and unrestrained spirit to serve the country’s armed forces and securing the lucrative tea estate industry in the hills. Time and again the demand for a separate Gorkhaland has ruffled many feathers and caused much tension in the Terai region. Darjeeling has been the been the hotbed of raging controversy time and again, in wake of the Gorkhas demand and outcry for a separate land and identity.

On Tuesday, one of the ardent workers of the GJM, Ashok Tamang got killed in the clash with the police during the protests, which took hundreds of supporters to the streets calling for the liberation of Gorkhas and a separate Gorkhaland.

The GJM asserted that Mr Tamang received serious head injuries during a lathi charge by the police. The police, however, refuted the charges, saying it was not evident that the injuries were the result of the baton charge. The agitators hauled petrol bombs at police outposts in various pockets and tried to set ablaze forest bungalow.

Gorkhaland Strike
Image Courtesy: – India Today

On Wednesday the supporters of GJM allegedly set on fire a tourist information centre and some government vehicles, fuelling further the month long agitation of the dangling Gorkhaland issue.

The CRPF and The Seema Suraksha Bal has been deployed in the violent hit areas and the tourist activities have come to a  standstill, as internet services and communication leaves the locals and the tourists completely stranded and clueless. According to West Bengal government officials, the GJM has hired Maoist forces as mercenaries to accelerate their efforts in a formation of a separate Gorkhaland state. But The GJM leadership has overruled the allegations quoting it “completely baseless”.

The government official reported that “the GJM has a huge stockpile of ammunition and they are gradually gearing up for an armed revolution in the hills”.

The GJM supporters held a demonstration outside the district magistrate’s office, to demand the restoration of the internet services in the region.

GJM MLA Amar Singh Rai was quoted as saying, “We want to know where is the MP? He has not come to the hills since the unrest began. Will he only come to the hills at the time of the election? If he tries to do that the BJP will get a befitting reply from the people of the hills”.

To arrest the rabble-rousing situation of the hills the Mamta Banerjee government sealed the Siliguri based office of a Nepali language television channel. The police alleged that the ABN news network fuelled communal feelings among people and even streamed people sporting khukris and weapons during the demonstration on the streets. Inspite of the government’s move to impose curfew in the region, the situation in Darjeeling remained the same. BJP MP SS Ahluwalia, intimated the Union government about the situation, criticizing the move as a breach in freedom of speech.

Chief of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha  Bimal Gurung, said: “The state government is trying to suppress the democratic movement through undemocratic and fascist means.”

GJM activists and local NGOs were seen distributing food in the area, as food supply was severely affected in the region.

BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya called for creation of smaller states in order to solve the political crisis in West Bengal. “It is the right of the state. After it decides and passes a resolution in the state assembly, then the Centre can consider it,” Vijayvargiya said.

The GJM youth wing has even launched a hunger strike and pledges to fast unto death in a severe protest for the demand of a distinct Gorkhaland. In observance of the curfew and strict police vigilance, all shops, restaurants, schools and colleges remain closed, except pharmacies.

2 Responses to "Trouble in the Hills:Darjeeling Unrest"

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