Darjeeling Gorkha separatists clash with police

Darjeeling Gorkha separatists clash with police

"Five years you enjoyed, now when elections are coming you start violence because you have lost credibility", Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in Kolkata, hitting out at the GJM leadership.

India's internal affairs minister Rajnath Singh tweeted: "All concerned parties and stakeholders should resolve their differences and misunderstandings through dialogue in amicable environment".

The officials claimed that almost 36 of the security personnel were injured while trying to contain the violence, and denied that they opened fire at the protesters.

Police said one man died and 35 police officers were hurt in the violence on Saturday. Stopped by security forces, they broke the barricade but, without resorting to violence, marched ahead and took up position at Singmari where rallies from other points converged before the showdown. Several vehicles were torched as police cracked down on protesters, firing tear gas shells and resorting to lathicharge.

The Gorkha activists on Sunday blocked roads and staged demonstrations at many places in the Dooars in support of the GJM's call for 12-hour strike in the region as the agitation in the hills spilled onto the plains. "So many bombs and arms can not be gathered in a day", Ms Banerjee said.

Gurung, whose party is spearheading the movement, also gave out a clarion call to his supporters to intensify their demand to carve out a new state from West Bengal named Gorkhaland. However, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and ADG ( Law and Order) Anuj Sharma yesterday denied any police firing at Singmari.

S.S. Ahluwalia, BJP MP from Darjeeling, who was also a part of the delegation that met Rajnath Singh in Delhi, also condemned the actions of the Mamata Banerjee government in the hills.

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Darjeeling remained on the edge today as thousands of protesters assembled at the central Chowkbazar carrying the body of a GJM activist, who was killed during clashes with police, and raised slogans demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.

The GJM, which is agitating for Gorkhaland, scaled up its protests following the arrest of the son of Morcha leader Amar Rai and raids in the houses of party leaders.

The federal government of India has urged the West Bengal government and Gorkhaland protesters to hold peaceful dialogue to resolve the situation.

"After the Bengal government tried to crush a peaceful protest by sending its police force to the hills, I see less chances of any compromise with the Bengal government", Sharma said.

"From where are they (GJM) are getting their support?" The outfit was first named Gorkhaland Police, but after opposition from various quarters it was renamed Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP). "We can not tolerate this hooliganism", Sharma said.

The GJM intensified the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland by announcing an indefinite strike in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts and the Dooars from June 12 after the state government decided to make Bengali language compulsory in state-run schools.

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