Poster fire in hills

The Telegraph

Kalimpong, June 10: Supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today went on the rampage, destroying property belonging to GNLF members at Kafer and triggering tension in the tourist spot.

Police said the hotel of former GNLF councillor Tshering Sherpa and the house of Buddha Lama bore the burnt of the attack. Lama’s house, which is a little below Kafer Bazaar, 56km from here, was set on fire. But the police intervention brought the fire under control.

An attempt was made to do the same to Sherpa’s hotel, which had also been the target of similar attack last year.

A car was also set on fire by a Morcha mob of about 300 people. “In the name of bringing out a procession, around 250 to 300 Morcha supporters had assembled (at Kafer). Suddenly a small portion of the group turned violent,” said Rahul Srivastav, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling.

The incident happened a day after another GNLF supporter Sonam Tamang had been assaulted allegedly by Morcha supporters at Nimbong village, which is 10km from Kafer.

Tamang, the police chief said, had been admitted to a Siliguri hospital. His shop was also destroyed by the Morcha supporters.

Srivastav said the police had got some names of those involved in both the incidents and raids were on to arrest the culprits. “We have set up a picket in the area and round-the-clock patrolling is continuing,” he added.

Tension had engulfed the area since Monday after some GNLF posters surfaced. The posters reiterated the party’s stand on granting Scheduled Tribe status to the entire Gorkha community, else the outfit would not take part in any election.

The Morcha supporters, felt the appearance of the posters was a “sinister” attempt by its political rival to announce its presence in the area.

“There was no need for the GNLF men to plaster these posters, that too, after the conclusion of the parliamentary elections,” said C.M. Gurung, a Morcha leader of the area.

No one from the GNLF could be contacted.

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