As Darjeeling Burns, Mamata Leaves for UN Meet in the Netherlands

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minster Mamata Banerjee left for a two-day visit to the Netherlands on Monday to address a United Nations meet, saying her ministers were monitoring the situation in violence-hit Darjeeling.

“Violent protests won’t be tolerated. My ministers are monitoring the situation,” she told ANI at Kolkata airport.

Mamata will be in The Hague to attend the UN Public Service Day celebrations on June 22 and 23. A source in the government said this is first time an Indian CM has been invited to the event. “This is a matter of pride for us and for Bengal,” he said.

The Hills have been on the boil since June 12 when an indefinite bandh called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha came into effect. The bandh turned violent with GJM supporters torching buildings and taking out protests against the midnight arrest of party media manager Vikram Rai. Rai is the son of GJM’s Darjeeling MLA Amar Rai.

Fresh clashes erupted on June 17 with GJM protesters stabbing an officer of the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) who was said to be critical.

Tensions were fuelled when GJM leader Vinay Tamang, a close aide of party chief Bimal Gurung, claimed that two Morcha supporters had died in police firing. Tamang demanded a “high-level judicial inquiry” into the deaths.

West Bengal ADG (Law and Order) Anuj Sharma had refuted the charges, saying the police did not fire at GJM supporters. “There was no firing from our side. We will investigate how the two people were killed – if at all – as alleged by the GJM,” Sharma had said.

Commending on Mamata’s visit to The Hague, a Trinamool Congress spokesperson said: “It was a scheduled commitment to the United Nations. She is monitoring the situation.”

Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress is locked in a fierce battle for the Hills with the Bimal Gurung-led Gorkha Janmukti Morcha which wants a separate state of Gorkhaland.

Article source: IBNLive