KOLKATA: With political parties in denial or passing the buck and police waiting for the “right time” to nab the culprits, it seems an invisible hand has torched over 50 government offices and public properties in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts since fresh fire for Gorkhaland statehood was stoked on June 8.
Public properties gutted include century-old libraries, heritage railway stations, sericulture offices and every important structures that could have been assets of the proposed Gorkhaland state. “Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) was embroiled in extensive corruption during the five years it ruled the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA).
Government offices contained documents that could have proved the graft. The burnings started after Mamata Banerjee ordered a special audit of Central funds allocated to GTA in the past five years. The offices were burnt down to avoid this special audit,” says Trinamool Congress Darjeeling hills district president Rajen Mukhia.
Darjeeling Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Chaturvedi agrees. “Our investigation found that GJM supporters are behind these burnings. We’ll take action at the right time,” he says.
Gorkhaland activists say they are not the arsonists. “GJM activists are not behind these burnings and we do not know who are doing this,” said GJM general secretary Roshan Giri.
Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) spokesperson Neeraj Zimba smells a conspiracy behind the arson. “These buildings are being burnt by unknown miscreants who want to deceive Gorkhaland supporters and derail the statehood movement,” he says.