Blast in Darj, Gurung and two others booked; no one injured

Darjeeling, 19 Aug:

A bomb blast rattled the heart of Darjeeling town last night, damaging a few shops but injuring no one. Following the incident, the West Bengal police today booked GJM chief BimalGurungand two other under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).The GJM has denied any involvement in the incident and has condemned the police move and the incident.

No injuries were reported in the incident although much panic spread among the people, the ear-shattering blast having occurred shortly after midnight in the Chowkbazaar area.

Senior police officials stationed here claim that the blast was triggered when a police van was patrolling in the area.

GJM president BimalGurung along with party leaders PrakashGurung and Praveen Subbahave been booked in connection with the blast, the SP Darjeeling, AkhileshChaturvedi, has confirmed.

Meanwhile, GJM has categorically denied any involvement in the explosion.

It remains convinced that this was the handiwork of someone who is not looking forward to the formation of new state and plans to disrupt the movement.

The Inspector General of Police Darjeeling Range, Manoj Verma, has meanwhile been quoted in media reports as saying: “A few days ago it was reported that a huge amount of explosives were stolen from a power plant in Bijanbari area. We suspect that these are the same explosives that were used. We suspect the hand of GJM supporters behind this blast. We have started an investigation and are on a lookout for the culprits.”

Today was the 69th day of the indefinite shutdown called by the GorkhaJanamuktiMorchain pursuit of its demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

The GJM chief, in a press statement issued today, termed the blast as “the handiwork” of those opposed to Gorkhaland and demanded an “unbiased investigation” by a high level enquiry committee comprising National Investigation Agency officials under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

“GorkhaJanmuktiMorcha condemns and protests against the bomb blast. The blast, we believe, was the handiwork of those who do not want Gorkhaland state to be formed. This was a planned move aimed at bringing disrepute to the movement and the demand for Gorkhaland.

“The GorkhaJanmuktiMorcha demands that a probe be initiated, at the earliest, by a high level enquiry committee, comprising of NIA officials under the supervision of the Supreme Court of India, so that an unbiased investigations can be carried out into this heinous attempt to bring disrepute to the Gorkhaland movement and the leaders associated with it, and wilful attempts at causing unrest in peaceful Darjeeling,” he states in his press release.

“GJM will never support any undemocratic means, and we condemn this attempt at breaching peace in the hills. We request everyone not to be misled and not to be scared, and to maintain peace in the hills,” the statement adds.

Mr Gurung and his two party colleagues have been booked under sections 120B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy), 121 /121A/122 of IPC (relating to waging or intending to intention of waging war against the government), as also sections 16/17/18/18A/18B of UAPA.Cases under some sections of the West Bengal Maintenance of Public Order and Prevention of Damage to Public Property have also been slapped against the accused.