Hills, Assam remain restive

The Statesman


statesman news service
DARJEELING, 3 AUG: Normal life was paralysed as an indefinite bandh began today in Darjeeling for a separate Gorkhaland state, with a GJMM supporter who had attempted immolation five days ago succumbing to his injuries.
The 45-year-old GJMM youth activist, Mangal Singh Rajput, who had attempted self-immolation at Damber Chowk in Kalimpong, died at a private hospital in Siliguri this evening. GJMM president Bimal Gurung condoled his death.
Meanwhile, a six-member GJMM delegation led by general secretary Roshan Giri today called on Union agriculture minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar in Delhi.
“We discussed the history and the emotions behind the demand for Gorkhaland at length. He assured us that he would discuss the matter with his party members and senior leaders,” Mr Giri said over the phone. The delegation is slated to meet C P Thakur tomorrow.
Gorkhaland supporters also staged a demonstration at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi today.
Back in the Hills, Prakash Gurung, GTA Sabha member from Rimbik-Lhodoma and other GJMM activists were arrested for having shut down two hydel projects — Ramam and Nippon — located in the Darjeeling sub-division.
It is also learnt that Majua gram panchayat office under Pul-Bijanbari block in Darjeeling was set on fire by alleged GJMM supporters last night.
Darjeeling superintendent of police Kunal Agarwal said that nine people had been arrested so far in connection with incidents of arson and vandalism involving the Takdah forest bungalow, Pokhriabong police outpost and an NHPC car.
Rallies and demonstrations were held in Kalimpong, Kurseong, Darjeeling and Mirik during the day. In Darjeeling, 25 GJMM youth front activists demonstrated by rolling shirtless over a two-km stench on the Kak Jhora-Chowk Bazaar road in Darjeeling (in sns photo). They had “Gorkhaland” emblazoned on their chests. Thousands also demonstrated in front of the Darjeeling police station.
According to a senior police official, two companies of CRPF arrived in Darjeeling today. “Tomorrow, they will stage flag marches,” said the official.
Tarun Gogoi rules out division of state
statesman news service
GUWAHATI, 3 AUG: As violence continued to rock Karbi Anglong and parts of west Assam over demands to carve out separate states, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today met the Prime Minister and ruled out further division of his state.
Demanding a Karbi state, agitators continued disruptive activities for the fourth day today, and torched government buildings and Congress offices in different parts of Karbi Anglong. The hill district had witnessed several demonstrations yesterday, following which the administration imposed curfew and issued shoot-at-sight orders. Curfew was relaxed for three hours this morning.
Owing to unabated violence in many parts of Karbi Anglong, train routes to Nagaland and parts of eastern Assam remained affected.
Parts of West Assam, on the other hand, continued to be on the boil, as several Bodo organisations demonstrated in favour of a Bodoland state. After Friday’s day-long rail blockade, Bodo groups under the leadership of the President of All Bodo Students’ Union (Absu) have called a 60-hour Assam bandh beginning 5 August, and a 1000-hour economic blockade later.
The Bodo leadership has tried its best to re-establish the demand for dividing Assam; they want half of Assam to be reserved for Bodoland.
The All Koch-Rajbongshi Students’ Union today submitted a memorandum to the Assam Governor demanding creation of Kamatapur state.
Meanwhile, ministers Prithvi Majhi and Rajib Lochan Pegu arrived in Karbi Anglong today to take stock of the situation.


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