GJM’s ‘police wing’ tightens grip on Darjeelng Hills
Posted by Admin on July 17, 2009
DARJEELING/KOLKATA: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s decision to put its ‘police wing’ —Gorkhaland Personnel —on ‘law and order duty’ during its ongoing indefinite strike has brought into sharp focus how Darjeeling has gradually slipped out of Kolkata’s grasp.
Since the bandh began on Monday, GLP volunteers in blue uniform with green, yellow and white stripes (their party colours) have been patrolling streets with West Bengal police virtually retreating from most of the Hills.
About 4,500 GLP volunteers have been deployed to maintain law and order, while 180 are manning National Highways 31A and 55. About 5,000 have been kept as reserves, while 7,000 volunteers will be recruited.
This follows after GJM refused to exempt police vehicles, except that of SP, from the purview of the strike called in support of its Gorkhaland demand. It has also demanded transfer of the IGP (North Bengal), the ASP (headquarters) and the SDPO (Kurseong) and an inquiry into last week’s clashes between police and GJM workers at Panighatta, a foothill settlement.
Writers’ Buildings started losing control over Darjeeling in November 2007, almost a year before Lalgarh went out of bounds for Kolkata. At that time, GJM had shut down Hills for two days that stopped CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee from attending a CPM conference in Darjeeling. Since then, the CM has not visited Hills.
The state government hobnobbed with GJM during the last days of Subash Ghisingh as caretaker administrator of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council in early 2008. In three months, GJM brought the entire Hills under its control. In April 2008, Kolkata looked helpless when the new pro-Gorkhaland party began an indefinite boycott of taxes and payment of electricity and telephone bills as part of its ‘home rule’ agitation.