Darjeeling Hills at peace after ethnic clashes

November 24th, 2007 - 12:42 pm ICT by admin  

Darjeeling , Nov 24 (ANI): The situation is peaceful in the Darjeeling Hills after a leader of an ethnic group fighting for a separate homeland was attacked by a rival faction.

There is no report of any untoward incidents since last night.

The Army was called out on Friday evening following the violent incidents. Prohibitory orders have been imposed in the town and the Rapid Action Force has conducted a flag march.

“Army has been called out and they staged flag march in the city to restore confidence among the tourists. We have imposed prohibitory orders and it will continue,” said R.J.S. Nalwa, Inspector General of Police, North Bengal .

A four-day shutdown is on in the town over rival claims for a separate homeland for ‘Gorkhas’.

Rival factions called for a shutdown in pockets of their influence. While one faction is in favour of the inclusion of the hills in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, the second is not.

The powerful Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) wants the Darjeeling Hills to be included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, while the Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJMM), a breakaway faction of the GNLF, led by Bimal Gurung, opposes the demand.

K.B. Gurung, a former councillor of GNLF, was critically wounded allegedly by GJMM activists and shifted to a hospital in Siliguri.

“After they (Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha) attacked a member of our group, police came. Darjeeling will remain closed until police arrests the culprit,” said Bimal Gurung, President of the GNLF Darjeeling district committee.

GNLF launched the agitation for a separate state in 1980 but dropped the demand for Sixth Schedule after New Delhi agreed to confer partial autonomy in 1988 for the Nepalese-speaking people.

An agreement was signed by the Central Government, the State Government of
West Bengal and the GNLF paving way for the setting up of the Autonomous Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (ADGHC) in 1988.

The State Government in West Bengal has been resisting demands for a separate state to Gorkhas. (ANI)

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