Darjeeling, Aug 8 IBNS | 2 years ago

A Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activist sustained nearly 55 percent burn after he set himself on fire during picketing in front of the District Magistrate's office, as the indefinite Darjeeling shut down entered the sixth day on Thursday.

Officials sources said that while many GJM supporters were raising slogans to mark their sixth consecutive day shut down for Gorkha statehood, 32-year-old Purba Sherpa, also a physically challenged person, set himself on fire after pouring kerosene in
Darjeeling town.

His cries attracted others, who immediately doused the flames and took him to Darjeeling Sadar Hospital.

This was the third such suicidal attempts by burning during the recent protests .

On the first day of the movement, a man also set himself on fire at Chawkbazar area in Darjeeling and survived after burns on his limbs.

But the 45-year-old Mangal Kumar Rajput, who immolated himself at Dambarchowk in Kurseong on July 30 and succumbed to his wounds three days later at a private nursing home in Siliguri.

Meanwhile, uncertainly continued to looms large as there was no sign of any immediate breakthrough in Darjeeling.

GJM president Bimal Gurung, who resigned as the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) chief executive last week, refused to hold any talk with the West Bengal government and is hoping to get an appointment with the central leaders.

Party sources said Gurung was hoping to get an appointment either with United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi or Chairperson of the Indian Youth Congress Rahul Gandhi so that he could inform them on the latest situation of Darjeeling.

West Bengal Chief Minster Mamata Banerjee had already ruled out the division of the state.

Meanwhile, crackdown by the security forces continued, especially against those GJM activists who had old records of offences and against the Gorkhland Personnel (GLP), a private army of the GJM.

Official sources said so far 148 people have been arrested from various parts of Darjeeling since the second phase of the indefinite strike began on Saturday.

Among them are Anit Thapa and Ankit Yanzone, the closest aides to Bimal Gurung.

Both Thapa and Yanzone were on Thursday shifted to a Siliguri jail as space in the prisons of Darjeeing are inadequate owing to large scale arrests.

The GJM activists continued picketing at all important places and launched silent procession while the security forces marched in front of all vital installations to face any eventuality.

(Posted on 09-08-2013)