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Featured Image: The threat poster in Darjeeling.   

By A Newsman

Siliguri, 24 September: ALLEGED threat calls from Bimal Gurung to office bearers of traders’ organisations and, pasting of threat posters made businesses in Darjeeling town to back out from their decision to open shutters from today defying the 102-day long shutdown.

The fear-factor was reinforced further after suspected Gurung supporters this morning torched a Tata Sumo passenger car (WB-76-9733) at Lebong on the outskirts of Darjeeling. The car was on its way to Siliguri as in yesterday’s meeting of traders’ and vehicle operators, it was decided that shops will open and taxis will ply.

But as soon as the news reached Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung, who is absconding from the police, he called up all office bearers of the prominent traders’ body late last night and threatened them with dire consequences if they opened their businesses.

By today morning, hand scribbled Nepali posters came up almost all over the Hills threatening people with death and vowing to wage an armed struggle for Gorkhaland.

“Those opening their shops and those using transport during the bandh, shall prepare to die. I will either kill those who have accepted GTA-II in place of Gorkhaland or I will die. People who don’t support Gorkhaland be careful, the days of 1986 are here to return. Why? Because the Bengal government has forced us to reject democracy and pick up guns,” the unsigned posters read.

The reference to 1986 is as regards the first bout of Gorkhaland agitation led by late Subash Ghising from 1986-88, which according to unofficial figure had caused 1,200 deaths.

The threat calls and posters evoked such impact that the traders who had resolved to open their shutters at one go at 9 am, were nowhere to be seen in Darjeeling town today morning.

A large posse of police led by Darjeeling district magistrate Joyoshi Dasgupta were out on the streets well before 9 am, but that could hardly instil confidence. Later police also prod some shopkeepers to lift their shutters, all in vain.