KOLKATA: Large swathes of the Dooars region in Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri districts observed a shutdown while rallies were held in Darjeeling, Mirik and Gorubathan towns on Sunday morning, a day after three Gorkhaland activists were killed and five injured in police firing in Darjeeling and Ghoom on Saturday.
Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) officer Kiran Tamang, who was seriously injured on the back after protestors attacked him with khukuri on Saturday morning, is stable and recovering on Sunday morning after being operated on Saturday night, the private hospital administration in Siliguri confirmed.
In a video released from an undisclosed location, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supremo Bimal Gurung condemned the police firing and called on all Nepali-speaking people of hills and Dooars to mourn June 17 as a ‘Black day’ and tie black armbands in protest against the police firing. Refuting allegations of Mamata Banerjee that GJM has links with rebel groups of Northeast, Gurung asked his supporters to assemble at Chawk Bazar area in Darjeeling town on Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, mobile internet has been shut down in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts after protestors used social media to mobilise for rallies and spread news of the agitation. Mobile operators sent messages to customers informing them that internet would be shut till further notice.
On the other hand, Kalimpong district Trinamool Congress president and former MLA Goulen Lepcha resigned from his post and the party extending support to the cause of Gorkhaland statehood movement. He claimed that the police firing triggered his resignation.
“The political crisis in the Darjeeling hills have taken a new turn. I’ll be with the people of the hills and can’t ignore the aspiration and voice for the separate state that is echoing in every nook of the towns and villages,” he wrote in his resignation letter.
“17th June, 2017 was a black day for the people of the hills as we have lost three of our brothers in Darjeeling, who were demanding for Gorkhaland. I feel that it is the right time to be united for the cause of Gorkhaland,” he added.