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HomeNationCops raid GJM’s Gurung house intensifies protest; mob clashes with police

Cops raid GJM’s Gurung house intensifies protest; mob clashes with police

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Protesters and riot police hurled stones at each other and a car was set ablaze after a series of raids on Thursday on premises connected with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief, whose separatist campaign was spiralling deeper into violence.

At 9.30 am, a huge police force descended at the home-cum-office of Bimal Gurung, president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha which is spearheading the call for the separate state.

A huge number of arms – including bows and arrows, machetes, axes, and explosives and cash were found, a senior police officer said.

As the raid was on, Morcha supporters clashed with the police, who responded with teargas and lathicharges. A media vehicle was torched. Trouble spread to neighbouring Kalimpong district, where a police post was set on fire and two other government properties attacked.

The present situation in the hills is created by the state government. They want to suppress us using huge police force”, GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri said. He said the Centre and the state government should solve the “political problem”.

In Darjeeling, GJM activists sparred with paramilitary personnel, hurling stones from a distance. The policemen responded by throwing stones back as a car burnt nearby. It was not clear if the car was that of a civilian or belonged to the police.

The police, however, denied that Gurung’s residence was raided. They said some party activists were arrested in the raids in Singmari and Patlabas areas.

The raid came as an indication that chief minister Mamata Banerjee was ready to crush the protests demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland that has triggered violence in the northern Bengal hills.

The demand by the GJM for a separate Gorkhaland state to be carved out of the Darjeeling hills is fast turning into a major political crisis for Banerjee and is likely to cripple the critical tourist industry during the peak summer season.

Following the raids, the GJM called for an indefinite shutdown in the hills from Thursday.

“The state government is indulging in politics of witch-hunting,” Giri, the GJM general secretary, said.

“The police and the state government are provoking us to call an indefinite strike in the hills. We will inform the Centre about the atrocities of the state government. We have called an indefinite shutdown in hills from Thursday,” Giri said.

On the recovery of weapons, the GJM leader said, “What have they found? Khukri is part of our tradition, what is the harm in keeping it? Bows and arrows are traditional weapons. They were meant for students for archery competition”.

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