Darjeeling: In a high optic protest held in Darjeeling today, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha torched copies of an agreement that gave partial autonomy to the hills. Shirtless supporters marched through the hill town as fellow protesters smashed tube lights on their backs till they bled.
Mamata Banerjee today held a meeting with top administrative and police officers at her office after police submitted a report on the Darjeeling situation.
On Thursday, the Morcha has called a meeting of hill parties to chalk out their way forward.
"The funeral of GTA has been held today," said Morcha leader Benoy Tamang as thousands thronged Chowk Bazar in Darjeeling this morning, adding, "Now, only Gorkhaland."
Morcha MLA Amar Rai said, "It looks like a point of no return has been reached."
The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration or GTA agreement, signed in 2011 by the Morcha, the UPA and Mamata Banerjee's government, had set up a partly-autonomous body, the GTA, to govern the Darjeeling hills. But the Morcha says GTA was never truly autonomous.
GTA election is due in August but Morcha says no one will participate. "From today, GTA is a non-entity in the hills," Mr Tamang said.
Not so, says Trinamool's Darjeeling district chief and tourism minister Gautam Deb. "Just burning some sheets of paper is symbolic but has nothing to do with GTA," he said at Siliguri. "Some people are instigating youngsters. Only talks can resolve the issue," he added.
"The language of protests today was not the language of a democratic movement," he said.
Held on the 13th day of the Morcha's indefinite strike call, today's "tubelight protests" drew huge crowds in the popular hill town. Police stood by and watched but did not confront the crowds.
CPM leader and Siliguri mayor Ashok Bhattacharya said, "The situation in the hills is out of control. The centre must intervene. We condemn the death of three men in clashes with police. "
The CID or Criminal Investigation Department of the state police has been tasked to probe the death of three Morcha supporters in clashes with police on 17 June. Who shot them is not clear.