Normal life in Bengal hills remains affected, hand grenade found

Normal life continued to be affected in most parts of West Bengal’s hills on Tuesday, the 83rd day of the GJM-called indefinite shutdown in support of Gorkhaland demand. During the day a hand grenade was found in Mirik area of Darjeeling.

While shops, schools, and colleges in most parts of the hills remained closed, some shops in Darjeeling’s Mirik sub-division opened.

The police intervened after a silent march taken out by ousted Gorkha Janmukti Manch leader Anit Thapa and his supporters in Kurseong town seeking revocation of the shutdown in the northern hills came face to face on Tuesday with pro-shutdown Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activists.

Thapa, who was expelled on September 1 from the GJM for alleged anti-party activities, and his supporters were confronted by slogan-shouting Nari Morcha (GJM women wing) activists, who hailed GJM chief Bimal Gurung.

Thapa refused to comment, saying everyone was fighting for a separate Gorkhaland state in his or her own way.

“People of Kurseong are still with us. They will never believe allegations levelled by certain GJM leaders. I cannot let them down. I have come here to meet the people,” Thapa said.

He claimed that the hill people were emotionally blackmailed in the name of Gorkhaland to continue with the indefinite shutdown.

“Many shops, schools and offices opened after withdrawal of shutdown was announced. But people are being emotionally blackmailed in the name of Gorkhaland. This movement is solely based on emotions now. There is no logic behind the shutdown,” Thapa said.

The police said a hand grenade has been seized in Darjeeling’s Mirik area.

“A hand grenade was found lying near a market in Mirik this morning. A bomb disposal squad defused it,” Darjeeling Superintendent of Police Akhilesh KumarChaturvedi told IANS.

The officer said security arrangements, including police patrols, in the hills were continuing.

Thapa and GJM Assistant General Secretary Binay Tamang were expelled on charge of entering into a conspircy with the Bengal government to derail the Gorkhaland movement after they decided to temporarily call off the indefinite shutdown.

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