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Featured Image: A TV grab of  police lath-charge on GJM cadres at Chowk Bazar in Darjeeling.

By A Newsman

Siliguri, 13 June: POLICE in Darjeeling resorted to a lathi-charge on Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activities as they tried to march towards Darjeeling district magistrate office to enforce a closure of government offices.

The lathi-charge took place around 10.50 am at Chowk Bazar in Darjeeling town, making the GJM activists to scurry to safety. A large number of police force has been stationed in and around Chowk Bazar to thwart any retaliation bid by GJM.

At Singmari, on the outskirts of the town, police have stopped a huge rally of GJM cadres from trying to march towards Darjeeling town. GJM cadres are still camping by the road at Singmari and so are police to prevent them marching ahead. GJM headquarters is located at Singmari.

This is happening on a day when all of Darjeeling Hills is almost completely shut following the strike call by tea workers unions in the four districts of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Alipurduar, and Jalpaiguri. Vehicles are off the roads in the Hills.

In the Chowk Bazar incident, some 2,000 GJM workers, with women activists at the front, had set out on a rally around 10.30 am in support of today’s general strike by tea workers unions for wage hike and the GJM called indefinite closure of government offices.

Traversing through narrow hilly lanes, they reached Chowk Bazar, the business hub of Darjeeling town. Subsequently, the GJM activists started marching towards the DM office when police led by Darjeeling SP Akhilesh Chaturvedi stopped them and asked them not disperse.

With GJM activists declining to do so, police started pushing back them by wielding lathis. It was then that someone threw a glass bottle at police from a lane located above Chowk Bazar.

Police at once reacted by resorting to a massive lathi-charge on the rallying GJM activists. This made the GJM cadres to scurry to the safety of houses located above Chowk Bazar.

Apprehensive of retaliation by GJM, IPS officers Jawed Shamim and Siddh Nath Gupta soon arrived at the site and leading police teams they are now patrolling the hilly lanes and by-lanes in and around Chowk Bazar.

GJM assistant general secretary Binay Tamang has alleged that police lathi-charged GJM rally at Chowk Bazar that was peaceful and there was no provocation from GJM end.