Gorkha Janamukti Morcha's bandh is total in the hills

Tension gripped the Darjeeling hills and parts of the Dooars in north Bengal on Wednesday, the first day of an indefinite bandh the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha called to protest the death of two of its supporters in Tuesday's police firing at Sipchu in Jalpaiguri district.

While the bandh was total in the hills, it evoked a partial response in the Dooars and the Terai. There were reports of sporadic incidents of violence indulged in by suspected GJM activists, including the setting ablaze of a police outpost at Singla in the Darjeeling sub-division.

Except for an attack on a forest checkpoint at Ghoombhanjan in the same sub-division, there was no major trouble on the day, P.M.K. Gandhi, District Magistrate, Darjeeling, told The Hindu on the phone. “The situation is under control.”

Two companies of the Border Security Force have been deployed in the hills to assist the four companies of the Central police force and the State police in maintaining law and order.

The GJM leadership has demanded a CBI inquiry into what it called “the unprovoked firing” at “peaceful” protesters. “We demand that justice be done,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said.

He alleged that the West Bengal government, without citing any reason, had withdrawn his and GJM president Bimal Gurung's bodyguards.