Darjeeling, May 25: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) yesterday called an indefinite shutdown in north Bengal's Darjeeling hills from Sunday to protest the arrest of an elected member of the hill development body for alleged involvement in arson and violence.
The GJM gave the call Friday evening after a local court rejected the bail application of Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) member and party leader Chandray Yonzon, who was taken into custody in connection with the ransacking and torching of the house of Trinamool Congress leader K.N. Subba at Gorubathan under Kalimpong sub-division of Darjeeling district.
"He (Yonzon) is an elected member of the GTA. Before arresting any legislator, the permission of the assembly speaker has to be taken. Then why did the administration and police not see permission from the presiding officer of the GTA Sabha?" asked GJM general secretary Roshan Giri.
"We are compelled to call an indefinite shutdown in the three hill subdivisions OF Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseyong from 6 a.m. on Sunday," Giri said.
The trouble erupted in the hills after Subba, vice president of the Trinamool unit in the hills, tried to return to his Gorubathan home from the plains where he was staying for the past four years. A former Gorkha National Liberation Front activist, he had to leave his home following violence and intimidation by alleged GJM members.
Police said when he tried to return home May 22, GJM called a shutdown and put up road blockades against his entry into the hills.
Five women members of the GJM frontal organsiation Gorkhaland Personnel were arrested for violence and intimidation Thursday.
A peace meeting was held Thursday evening, but Subba's residence was ransacked and then torched the same midnight allegedly by GJM activists.
On Friday morning, seven more GJM workers, including Yonzon were arrested by the police.
Though the five women GLP members were released, the bail plea of the seven others were rejected by a Kalimpong court, following which GJM called the shutdown.
Giri requested tourists to leave the hills by Saturday.
Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police (North Bengal) Sashikanta Pujari said reinforcements have been sent to the hills.