Darjeeling, Sept. 28: Stone-throwing residents fought pitched battles with police in Darjeeling today, blocked roads, set buses on fire and observed a shutdown from 3pm after a Rapid Action Force (RAF) constable was accused of molesting a student.
The student wing of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has called a 12-hour general strike across the hills tomorrow to protest the alleged molestation and demand the withdrawal of central forces from the region.
The mob, mostly school students, set ablaze two North Bengal State Transport Corporation buses and staged a blockade in the busy Chowk Bazar area, forcing the police to fire blank shots in the air and baton-charge the protesters.
The protesters, several of whom were injured in the lathicharge, gheraoed Darjeeling Sadar police station for some time. “The mob tried to set a police van on fire and the police resorted to a lathicharge,” said Kunal Aggarwal, the district police chief.
After the lathicharge, the mob threw stones at the police.
Shops downed shutters after 3pm and cars went off the roads. The Morcha said the shutdown was “spontaneous”.
The accused RAF constable, Arun Pramanik, 27, has been arrested.