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Siliguri back to normal

Siliguri, Sept. 30: Normality returned to the business hub today even as curfew was lifted from the 11 remaining areas a little after noon. Except for specific places around the Siliguri court and scenes of the street battle, curfew had been lifted from most parts of the town yesterday.

The army, too, withdrew its forces by evening. Eight persons have been arrested for instigating violence.

However, a company of the BSF is there and police still deployed in the Kutchery Road area, the scene of the eight-hour battle on Friday between the mob and the law enforcers, sparked by rumours of hooliganism by a rally of protesters. The rally of 5,000, consisting mostly of Nepalese people, had been brought out to protest against a radio jockey’s controversial comments against Indian Idol 3 winner Prashant Tamang.

Three persons, who were injured and are in hospital, will be arrested after they are discharged, Siliguri deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Indra Chakraborty said. Asok Bhattacharya, the Bengal urban development minister, visited all three of them at North Bengal Medical College and Hospital today. While Biswajit Das of Mainaguri and Acchalal Prasad of Khalpara were shot at by the police, Milan Ghosh of Shaktigarh was hit by a teargas shell.

Shops and other business establishments functioned normally while transport plied like on any other day. Educational institutions will reopen on October 3. Traders on Hill Cart Road, Bidhan Road and Siliguri Hawkers’ Corner did brisk business as people went on a pre-Puja shopping spree.

“The last couple of days were bad, but we are happy that people have come out shedding their fear,” said Pannalal Agarwal, the president of the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industries, North Bengal.

Local means of transport like autorickshaws, rickshaws and intra-city buses plied normally.

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