Police lathi charge supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in Darjeeling yesterday. Pic/AFP
The Centre yesterday rushed 600 additional paramilitary personnel to Darjeeling to assist the administration in restoring normalcy and sought a detailed report on the prevailing situation in the hill district from the West Bengal government.
A home ministry spokesperson said as many as 600 paramilitary personnel, including 200 women, were sent to Darjeeling. Around 400 personnel, already stationed in West Bengal, have also been deployed in Darjeeling along with the additional forces. The home ministry also sought a detailed report on the prevailing situation in Darjeeling which has witnessed violence in past few days.
The home ministry is closely monitoring the situation in the hill district and is ready to offer all required assistance to the state government to restore normalcy there.
As their indefinite shutdown entered its second day yesterday, protesters demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland pelted the police with stones at various parts of Darjeeling as they were stopped from enforcing their shutdown in many government offices. On Monday too, Gorkhaland supporters vandalised government offices as the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM)-sponsored indefinite shutdown forced tourists out of the picturesque hill station due to threat of violence.
The Morcha, which controls the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), has called a shutdown of all state and GTA offices to press its demand for creation of a separate state.
GJM chief Bimal Gurung said he is in constant touch with the Centre and is hopeful that its ally the BJP will consider its demand for a separate Gorkhaland.
"I am constantly in touch with the central government and various ministers. I am very hopeful that they will understand our pain and struggle and will consider our demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
"The government at the Centre is our ally and they will surely consider our demand compassionately," Gurung said. The BJP, he said, has always been in favour of small states.