Tribal violence singes Dooars

NAGRAKATA: Tribals in the otherwise tranquil Dooars belt in Jalpaiguri went berserk on Thursday, setting the age-old wooden structure of the Nagrakata police station ablaze.

They also pulled down its boundary wall and torched two police vehicles parked there. Police fired 10 rounds to bring the situation under control. Two tribals —Kailash Singh and Sanjay Kujur — suffered bullet injuries.

The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Bikash Parshad (ABABP) has threatened a civil war if GJM supporters try to enforce a bandh call in the Hills and Dooars on Saturday.

Thursday’s violent outburst was a reaction to the arrest of four ABABP activists — Bijay Lakhra, Ritesh Lakhra, Vikram Gand, Amarjit Barait — from Nayasylee Tea Estate in Nagrakata late on Wednesday. Police had arrested them in connection with the violence in Malbazar on January 16, based on a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha complaint.

As day broke, thousands of tribals came out of the tea garden bustees with lathis, bows and arrows and blocked National Highway-31 at several points, including Chalsa and Bagrakot.

The mob then marched towards Nagrakata police station, demanding release of the arrested ABABP activists. On learning that the accused have been sent to Jalpaiguri for production in court, the irate crowd ransacked the new building of Nagrakata police station. Some set the age-old wooden structure, beside the new building, on fire. When police lathicharged to clear the crowd, the mob retaliated by smashing seven vehicles parked in front, of which two were gutted. Even Malbazar SDPO M Phanim’s car did not escape the tribal wrath.