16 September Darjeeling(India): Pro-Gorkhaland supporters on Friday targeted a hospital-bound school vehicle carrying a 15-year-old Thai boy suspected to be suffering from dengue in Kalimpong.
St Augustine’s School authorities decided to send Rachata Buriwong to a nearby hospital, about 4km away at Eighth Mile on L B Road, in an SUV as he was too weak to walk. The picketeers stopped the vehicle at Kalimpong’s Dambar Chowk, pelted it with stones, smashing the windshield, and then forced the driver to turn back to the school.
Police arrested Kalimpong Municipality Gorkha Janmukti Morcha commissioner Bimala Chhetri and 14 other protesters. “This prompted GJM protesters to attack police at Motor Stand which led to police retaliation with batons and tear gas.”The vehicle was some distance from the hospital with the sick child but still no one showed any mercy. We have complained to the superintendent of police, the district magistrate and the MLA,” principal of the school, Father Gerard Lepcha said.
Buriwong’s blood sample was eventually collected at the school infirmary which nurses from the school had to carry the entire distance to the hospital on foot. “We were taking special classes in Siliguri for board year children in the wake of the strike but we brought back boarders to the campus when we got a window. The diktat was that formal classes couldn’t happen but we could hold special coaching sessions. But the September 12 meeting has changed everything,” Father Gerard said. He was referring to talks between the Bengal government and Hills representatives, where the division within the GJM ranks dominated the proceedings.