Gurung attends funeral procession

The Statesman

HIlls remain paralysed; offices shut down, roads wear a deserted look and more forces are deployed

Darjeeling, 5 August
Thousands of locals gathered at Dambar Chowk in Kalimpong along with the GJMM chief, Mr Bimal Gurung, to pay honour to the sacrifice of Mangal Singh Rajput who succumbed to his injuries on 3 August after he attempted an self-immolation bid on 30 July. The ceremony was accompanied by a solacing euphony by the school band. His body was carried to the Homes Cemetary, where the last rites were held.
Mangal is survived by a wife and two sons. The grieving wife of the deceased, Mrs Manju Singh Rajput, said: “I’m proud of his sacrifice for Gorkhaland.”
“The sacrifice of Mangal will not go in vain. The party will ensure relief to the family,” said Mr Gurung.
He reiterated that he will not step back from the agitation. “There will be no negotiation on Gorkhaland this time.” To maintain law and order, the Darjeeling Superintendent of Police, Mr Kunal Agarwal, earlier said that 16 platoons of IRB, RAF and Special Striking Force have been deployed in the Hills. In addition, two company of CRPF has been deployed, including one company of lady CRPF.
On the other hand, normal life in Hills continued to remain paralysed due to the indefinite strike convened by the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha. The third day of the strike and the beginning of the week has followed with the shutdown of all offices, including transportation and every business house, and deserted roads. In the first hour, party activists gheraoed the Darjeeling District Magistrate office. Police intervened when a group of GJMM workers tried to block the main gate of the DM’s office at about 9:30 a.m.  Mr Saumitra Mohan, Darjeeling District Magistrate, said: “Seven activists were arrested. We will ensure normal functioning of all the government offices.” Meanwhile, 12 activists ~ allegedly GJMM supporters ~ were brought to the Chief Judicial Magistrate court today. “Three have been bailed in connection to the sukhia pokhari case for blocking the highway and picketing. However, the court has denied bail to four activists in relation with the vandalism and setting on fire the police outpost at Pokhriabong. Five more were denied bail in relation with the Takdah forest bungalow fire incident,” said the assistant prosecutor, Mr Pankaj Prasad. The remaining eight has been remanded in 15-day judicial custody. “So far, 22-24 arrests has been made. Out of them, seven have got bail,” he said.
It is learnt that the two hydel projects stationed at the Rimbick-Lhodoma constituency of GTA where the GJMM activists had forced shutdown earlier has started to function normally amid tight security, said police. As a whole, the day remained peaceful.

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