Darjeeling: GJM clash with police on fourth day of indefinite strike
The fresh violence that erupted on the fourth day of GJM's indefinite shutdown, prompted police to resort to lathicharge and lob tear gas shells to control the situation.
In the morning, a huge police force, led by Darjeeling SP Akhilesh Chaturvedi, carried out a raid at GJM party office at Patlebas and claimed to have recovered a huge cache of weapons and cash.
Following the raid, GJM supporters started brick batting policemen at Patlebas and Singmari. Few policemen were injured in the skirmish.
Several police vehicles and an SUV of a private news channel were ransacked and then set on fire by strike supporters at Patlebas area.
The strikers allegedly set a sericulture office and a Government-owned tourist lodge on fire at Reshambari and Kalimpong respectively.
A heavy police force along with RAF and CRPF rushed to the violence-hit areas and the cops restored to lathicharge and lobbed tear gas shells to bring the situation under control.
Darjeeling SP Akhilesh Caturvedi told IBNS, "We raided GJM office at Patlebas and recovered several arrows, modern mechanised bows, prohibited arms, explosives including contrabands, night vision binocular, wireless device and huge amount of cash. We have booked two people."
"We have deployed heavy forces to the areas where GJM supporters are trying to trigger violence. Situation is under control now," Chaturvedi said.
Meanwhile, the GJM leadership has claimed that the recovered arrows and bows a part of the hill's tradition and not meant to attack anyone.
ADG (law & order) of WB Police, Anuj Sharma, however, told IBNS that the weapons and explosives were stored there to attack security personnel.
"Our raids at several locations in Darjeeling hills are underway and will continued in future. Strike supporters are trying to prevent police from doing their duties and they are attacking cops. Police action will be strengthened to restrain the situation," Sharma added.
A senior police official confirmed that two GJM leaders, Binod Pradhan and Karuna Gurung, were arrested from Kalimpong and Kurseong respectively on Thursday.
Senior IPS officer Javed Shamim told IBNS, "Police marches are currently underway in Darjeeling hills. Situation is under control now, no more violence has been reported."
(Reporting by Deepayan Sinha)