Kalimpong, 15 Jun:

Three incidents of arson, two which ended in the razing of public property and a third which was reportedly detected and stopped in time, were reported here today as the standoff between the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the State Government escalated across the hills.

Suspected Morcha supporters set the police out-post at Pedong on fire and also reduced a facility at the Sericulture institute here to ashes.

As per police officials stationed here, a group also attempted arson at the Hill Top Tourist Lodge here, which is under the West Bengal Tourism Department, but were thwarted before they could cause any damage. Barun Bhujel, the councillor representing ward number 16 in Kalimpong municipality, was arrested from the spot, police inform.

Meanwhile, as word spread of the police raid on GJM chief Bimal Gurung’s residence and party office, a massive rally was taken out by GJM supporters here today. Following the call for an indefinite bandh, all shops and schools here also downed shutters at around 11:30 a.m.

The Kalimpong District Magistrate, briefing media persons later in the evening, said that the situation was under control and that adequate police bandobast was in place to avoid any untoward incidents.

He further appealed against disrupting travel, pointing out that this was the time that students will be moving out for college admissions and should not be held up because of the situation here.

Meanwhile, six Morcha supporters had been arrested through the day till the filing of this report. They were allegedly picked up while trying to set fire to the Hill Top Lodge.