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Featured Image: Charred remains of the car near Darjeeling railway station. 

By A Newsman

Siliguri, 02 August: AMIDST allegations that police and Trinamool cadres were stopping food grains from being ferried to strife-torn Darjeeling Hills, suspected Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) torched a car that was carrying essential items to the Hills.

The incident took place in the wee hours today near Darjeeling railway station. To evade the GJM bandh picketers in the Hills and Trinamool vigilantes in Siliguri, a shopkeeper from Darjeeling town was ferrying food and other essential items in a Tata Spacio car from Siliguri in the dead of night.

But some suspected GJM cadres stopped it near Darjeeling railway station, located at the entry to the hill town, and asked those on board to come out. They then poured petrol on the car and set it on fire. The car, along with the food items in it, got charred completely.

Although GJM activists had been torching government offices, railway stations, and police cars ever since the unrest in the Hills broke out on 8 June, this is the first time that they have burned a vehicle carrying food for the people reeling under an indefinite shutdown since 15 June.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was in Siliguri this afternoon on the last day of her three-day north Bengal tour, did not comment on the development. She, however, held a meeting with senior police and administrative officers from the region on ways to mitigate the tension in the Hills and ensure the supply of food grains to people over there.

The meeting was also attended by tribal welfare minister James Kujur, tourism minister Gautam Deb, his deputy Indranil Sen, and north Bengal development minister Rabindranath Ghosh.

After the meeting held at the state’s branch secretariat Uttarkanya in Siliguri, the Chief Minister unveiled an Ol Chiki – Bengali – English dictionary published by the state government. She also inaugurated a 300-seat auditorium in Uttarkanya complex.