Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Prashnat Fans call hill strike Today

Darjeeling, Sept. 28: The Prashant Fan Club has called a 12-hour general strike across the hills tomorrow to protest against the flare-up in Siliguri today.
More than 50 people were injured when a mob clashed with police after rumours of a Prashant Tamang fan rally preventing patients from entering the Siliguri district hospital started doing the rounds. The rally of 5,000 was protesting against remarks made by the radio jockey of a Delhi-based FM channel.
Bimal Gurung, a GNLF leader from the Singamari-Tukvar area and an adviser to the fan club, said: “We protest against the incidents that took place in Siliguri. Strong action must be taken against the FM station, failing which we will take to the streets.”
Gurung made the announcement at Chowk Bazar around 6.30pm. Given the leader’s stature here, observers feel the strike will be total.
The GNLF leader added that strike has been called to ensure that no untoward incident takes place across the hills tomorrow. “The people here are in a volatile mood. We must ensure that there is peace, but if justice is not delivered to us we are ready to take to the streets.”
Though Gurung is a GNLF leader, the party has not taken a stand on the strike.
Dawa Pakhrin, the president of the GNLF’s Kalimpong branch committee, said: “We will maintain peace and tranquility across the hills but it is the duty of the administration to maintain law and order.”
D.T. Lepcha, the deputy inspector-general (Darjeeling range), convened a peace meeting here that was attended by senior leaders of the GNLF, the ABGL and the CPRM. Members of Darjeeling Bar Association were also present.
Soon after the incident in Siliguri, Kurseong MLA Shanta Chhetri met Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at Writers’ Buildings.
“The chief minister condemned the comments by the radio jockey. I have been informed that the state home secretary has already written to the information and broadcasting ministry requesting them to seek an explanation from the radio station,” Chhetri said from Calcutta.