Kolkata, Sep 11: Several businessman were arrested from Darjeeling Wednesday for allegedly funding disruptive activities and intimidating people in the West Bengal’s hills, police said.
Retail outlet owner B.M. Garg was arrested from his residence as part of a crackdown against the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and those funding the outfit, Darjeeling Superintendent of Police Kunal Agarwal said.
After Garg’s arrest, shops and markets in the town downed their shutters.
Another businessman, Himangshu Garhw was nabbed later in the day for forcing traders to close their shops, said Deputy Inspector General and Special Inspector General (Darjeeling) Jawed Shamim.
Two other businessmen – Dilip Parik and Mangaylal Parik – were also arrested from Sangam Bazaar area under Darjeeling sub-division.
“They were arrested with unaccounted 100 bags of rice and Rs.1.32 lakh in cash,” Agarwal said.
The Mamata Bannerjee government has been cracking down on the GJM since it intensified separate Gorkhaland movement in July after the Congress Working Committee and the United Progressive Alliance endorsed creation of Telangana.
A couple of days back, businessman Ashok Periyal was arrested from Kalimpong for funding the GJM and its agitation.
Wednesday’s arrests were based on information gathered from Periyal’s interrogation.
A police officer said an FIR had been lodged at the Sukhiapokhri police station against Gorkahland Territorial Administration member and GJM assistant secretary Jyoti Kumar Rai for hoarding rice meant for the public distribution system.
Angry over the arrests, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said his party would apprise the central government of the “random arrests”. “These people are all innocent,” he said.
Meanwhile, the state government has show-caused over 500 ration dealers in the hills for keeping their shops closed during the pro-Gorkhaland agitation by the GJM, state minister for food and supplies Jyotipriya Mallick said.
“The ration dealers have been directed to attend a hearing and explain why their licences should not terminated as they kept their shops closed and did not distribute rice and wheat to the people,” Mallick said.