West Bengal: Gorkha activist sets himself on fire

Kalimpong, July 30 : Forty-five-year-old Gorkha activist Mongal Singh Rajput set himself on fire in West Bengal's Kalimpong town on Tuesday as the 72-hour Darjeeling shut down in demand for a separate Gorkhaland state entered the second day.

The Kalimpong Police said Mangal Singh Rajput, a resident of Dr Graham Home, set himself on fire during slogans at Dambarchawk area at around 1400 hours.

Rajput, who sustained maximum burn on his body, was taken to a hospital in Siliguri.

The police said some Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters who were also among the picketers came to his rescue but by that time fuel soaked burning shirt and pants stuck to his body.

Many said this was the first such case of attempt of self-immolation since the Gorkhaland statehood movement turned violent in mid-80s.

Another self-immolation attempt was made in Darjeeling's Chawkbazar on Monday evening.

Darjeeling DSP Purnima Sharma said the injury was minor as the man was rescued immediately by others.

Meanwhile, life in entire Darjeeling hills was disrupted by the 72-hour shut down for second straight day on Tuesday.

Whilst the three hills sub-division regions looked deserted, there were activities in Terai's lower region falling under plains.

The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) ruling GJM leadership has not received any feeler so far either from the state government or the from Delhi since the three-day bandh began on Monday.

GJM supremo and GTA's chief executive Bimal Gurung already announced that he may resign from the GTA to spearhead separate statehood agitation.

--IBNS (Posted on 30-07-2013)

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