Library, tourist lodge torched in Bengal hills, HC asks centre to rush more forces

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Darjeeling/Kolkata, July 14 (IANS) Pro-Gorkhaland activists allegedly torched a library, tourist lodge and vandalised a Fisheries Department office even as the Calcutta High Court on Friday ordered the central government to rush four more companies of the Central Reserve Police Force to West Bengal’s northern hills within the next 48 hours.

The violence, which has singed the hills for over a month over the renewed movement for the separate state of Gorkhaland, continued unabated as the Prem Chand library in Mirik of Darjeeling district and the office of the Himalyan Director in Kurseong district were set afire in the early hours of Friday, police said.

In Dudhia, a small hamlet on Mirik-Siliguri highway on the bank of river Balason, the tourist lodge was burnt down by the protestors, who also vandalised the office of the Fisheries Department director in Kurseong district.

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In Kolkata, the Calcutta High Court directed the central government to dispatch the central forces to Darjeeling to bring the volatile situation under control

The division bench of acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T. Chakraborty asked the centre to provide the CRPF to complement the 11 companies of the Central Armed Police Force already deployed there.

The bench also directed the state government to deploy additional police personnel so as to restore peace in the hills.

Meanwhile, state Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his urgent intervention to resolve the turmoil in the hills.

“As an elected representative of people from West Bengal, I feel urgency to draw your attention and involvement towards an immediate and peaceful solution in the hill district of Darjeeling,” Chowdhury said in the letter.

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