Amid ongoing protests over separate statehood in Darjeeling, West Bengal Police on Thursday raided Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung’s office.
Police have recovered weapons, Crossbows and arrows at the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha office.
The raids comes a day after Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung threatened to intensify the movement for a separate Gorkhaland even as the indefinite shutdown in the government and the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) offices entered its third day.
“I will not welcome the tourists because they may face problems. There will be agitation, bandh in the hills… Indefinite bandh has been called in the government and the GTA offices. The movement for Gorkhaland will be intensified,” Bimal Gurung said in a message to cadres.
Meanwhile the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha called for an indefinite shutdown in protest against police raid at their office.
The political crisis in the Darjeeling hills took a new turn on Wednesday after the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) broke ties with Mamata Banjerjee government and joined hands with agitation spearhead by Gorkha Janamukti Morcha.
“The GNLF, since its inception in the eighties under the leadership Subhash Ghisingh, has been fighting for Gorkhaland. Our ultimate goal is to achieve a separate state of Gorkhaland,” Neraaj Zimba, spokesperson of the GNLF
He said the alliance with the Trinamool Congress (TMC) was never a political or ideological one, but an electoral tie-up.
Vehicles plied as the police remained on high alert and patrolled the streets ever since the protests began. Banks and most ATMs were closed, but shops and markets were open but no crowd could be seen on streets.
Most of the tourists have left the hills and hotels were empty. Hotel owners told the tourists, who still remained, that they could stay, but at their own risk.
The Rapid Action Force (RAF) and a sizeable number of women police personnel were also deployed.
The Centre had deployed 600 paramilitary personnel to assist the West Bengal government restore normalcy in the violence-hit area.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Governor K N Tripathi in Kolkata and briefed him about the situation in the hills.
The state government has removed Donbosco Lepcha, the secretary of the GTA, and appointed C Murugan as the new secretary, a notification issued by the Personnel and Administrative Reforms and e-Governance Department, yesterday, said.
The state government had recently replaced GTA Principal Secretary Ravi Inder Singh and brought in Barun Ray.