Kalimpong, Aug. 14: The political turmoil engulfing the hills is set to take a toll on the Independence Day celebrations in Kalimpong.
Tomorrow, the celebration will be limited to hoisting of national flags in government offices in town.
The Bhootpurva Sainik Morcha, which is an affiliate of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, will observe the day by paying tributes to the martyrs of the country at Damber Chowk and Ringkingpong Road.
Kalimpong used to be the epicentre of the I-Day celebrations in the hills with a host of cultural and sports programmes stretching for three-four days starting from August 15. People from across the hills and neighbouring areas would throng the town for the I-Day festivities.
Every year, a committee of local NGOs and government representatives would be formed to organise the events.
Even though such a committee was formed this time, it couldn’t plan any programme because of the political turmoil.
An office-bearer of the committee said on condition of anonymity: “The committee was formed a month back to prepare for the Independence Day celebrations. But a chain of events followed immediately, like the Congress’s announcement supporting the formation of Telangana, and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s resumption of the movement for a separate state. So, the committee couldn’t meet even once.”
P. Limbu, the officiating subdivisional officer of Kalimpong, said: “We will observe the day by hoisting the national flag in government offices. We have not planned any public function.”
In Darjeeling as well, the day will be observed by hoisting the Tricolour at various government offices.
The GTA Sabha has no public programme listed for the day.
All sporting activities that were scheduled for the day have also been cancelled.
Morcha leader held
Senior Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Subhomoy Chatterjee, a Bengali face in the party, was arrested from Darjeeling on Tuesday night.
He was produced before the chief judicial magistrate here on Wednesday and remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.
The 50-year-old leader, who was picked up from his Chandmari home, has been booked for wrongful restraint, obstruction of government servant from performing duty, criminal intimidation and blocking national highway.
A councillor of the Darjeeling municipality, Chatterjee is known for his show of protest and sloganeering in Bengali against the state government in a programme attended by the chief minister on January 29.