Two companies of para-military forces rushing to Darjeeling

Darjeeling (West Bengal), Jan 13 (IBNS) Two companies of para-military forces are being deployed as life hit hard in West Bengal’s Darjeeling hills for second day on Thursday, following a phase-wise 27-day bandh, sponsored by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), began on Wednesday to press for the demand of a separate statehood-Gorkhaland.

The first phase bandh is between Jan 12 and 15; the second phase eight-day bandh starts from Jan 18.

Inspector General of Police, North Bengal, Ranvir Kumar said the two companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are being deployed in addition to the present security arrangement to guard the National Highway 31A, linking Sikkim with West Bengal.

The reinforcement was called after reports of violence at Bijanbari, some 35km from Darjeeling town, where a Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) leader, who was opposing the bandh, was allegedly beaten up by Morcha supporters.

Police arrested a GJM central committee member in connection with the incident.

Police said Satish Pokhrel was arrested, who is the uncle of Keshav Raj Pokhrel. The latter, an absconding student-leader of the Morcha, has been named in the chargesheet filed by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for his alleged involvement in the murder of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) leader Madan Tamang.

To protest the arrest, Morcha supporters had gheraoed the Darjeeling police station and Phoolbari police station demanding release of Satish.

Most of the tea gardens were shut and life in all three sub-divisions – Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong-is badly affected for the second straight day.

GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said bandh wound continue until the Centre responded to its demand.

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