Kalimpong, Sept. 29: Traffic on the Teesta-Lopchu-Jorebunglow road came to a standstill for about four hours today after residents of Teesta Bazaar put up a blockade to protest alleged police inaction against vandals.
Yesterday, the residents had served a 24-hour ultimatum on the police for arresting 17 people from adjoining Teesta Pool who, they said, went on the rampage in the bazaar on Sunday night.
Five persons were injured, 10 houses damaged and the windshields of nine vehicles smashed in the attack, the police said and added that the motive behind the attack was being probed.
Two persons have been arrested. No one from Teesta Pool village could be contacted.
After the deadline ended this morning, the residents set up the blockade at 9am. The road links Darjeeling and Kurseong with Kalimpong and Sikkim. The protesters have threatened to launch a bigger agitation if no action is taken against the accused by October 6.
“We decided to lift the blockade after we obtained a written assurance from the police that the culprits will be brought to book at the earliest,” said Kishen Gupta, a senior citizen of Teesta Bazaar.
The assurance was given at a joint meeting of residents, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders and the police. Kalimpong additional superintendent of police K.B. Dorji was present.
The residents have named 17 people from Teesta Pool in an FIR who raided their riverside hamlets, 16km from here, around 11pm on Sunday. “On hearing the commotion, I came out of my home and saw a group of boys attacking houses and vehicles parked on the road. When I tried to intervene, I was hit on the head with a khukuri,” said Santosh Lama, a resident.
Another resident of the bazaar attributed the attack to envy. “Compared to us, the residents of Teesta Pool lag behind both in education and economy,” he said.
The police said they were trying to establish the motive behind the attack. “Two persons have been arrested. We are conducting raids in the area,” said an officer.