Four tribals injured in clash with West Bengal police

February 5th, 2009 - 9:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Siliguri (West Bengal), Feb 5 (IANS) Four people, including two women, were injured as the activists of tribals’ Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Bikash Parishad (ABABP) clashed with the police in the Dooars region of West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district, the police said Thursday.The ABABP has called for a shutdown for an indefinite period in the region.

At least 200 ABABP activists demonstrated in front of the Nagrakata police station, about 50 km from here, demanding the release of their four co-workers arrested earlier during the day for attacking and injuring rival Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) supporters Jan 16.

“At least 200 ABAVP supporters gheraoed (cordoned) Nagrakata police station demanding the release of their arrested co-workers. They threw bricks at the police station, destroyed furniture and tried to set the building ablaze,” Inspector General (North Bengal) K.L. Tamta told reporters.

“We had to ‘lathi’ (baton) charge and fire 12 rounds of teargas shells to control the situation. Four tribals, including two women, were injured in the scuffle,” Tamta said.

ABABP secretary Rajesh Lakhra alleged that two out of the four wounded, suffered bullet injuries.

“The police fired at our supporters. Two men suffered bullet injuries, while two women were beaten up with batons,” Lakhra said.

“We have called for an indefinite shutdown in the (Dooars) region starting Thursday evening to protest the police atrocities,” Lakhra added.

Additional police force and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel have already been deployed in the area.

The GJM took out a rally Jan 16 at Malbazar sub-division of Jalpaiguri to press its demand that Terai and Dooars be included in the proposed Gorkhaland territory.

The ABABP put up road blockades at important points across Malbazar.

This led to a clash between the two groups, in which at least 25 people, including two senior police officials, were injured.

The GJM, led by Bimal Gurung, has been leading a movement in the hills for a separate state, besides opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling district.

The central government in 2005 conferred the Sixth Schedule status on the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), ensuring greater autonomy to the governing body.

The DGHC was formed in 1988 through an agreement between the central and state governments and the GNLF after the hills witnessed violence for about two years.

ABABP staunchly opposes the GJM’s demand for including the Dooars into the proposed Gorkhaland state.

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