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Darjeeling on edge, GJM takes out rally with body of activist

Darjeeling on edge, GJM takes out rally with body of activist”

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the security situation in West Bengal's Darjeeling by sending more troops to help restore normalcy as the state government has not yet submitted its report on the situation. An indefinite bandh was called after the police on Thursday raided the premises of GJM chief Bimal Gurung and confiscated 300-400 weapons.

"All concerned parties and stakeholders should resolve their differences and misunderstandings through dialogue in amicable environment", Singh said.

While addressing the media for the first time on the issue in New Delhi, he said, "Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is responsible for the current situation in the Hills".

The state government, meanwhile, held a meeting today with chairmen and vice-chairmen of 15 development boards working in the hills, which have already constituted a committee to appeal to the people to maintain peace. "Nobody should resort to violence", he said in a series of tweets.

Security personnel in large numbers were deployed in the hill district of West Bengal after widespread clashes between Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activists and the police were witnessed on Saturday.

As prohibitory orders were in force in the area, the police told the protesters, who were carrying the tricolour and GJM flags, to return. While the security forces had to use the winding road to move in, the GJM supporters outwitted them by using the steep stairs along the hillside to move up and down easily. "The police did not open fire".

Unrest in the Darjeeling hills started last week when the West Bengal government decided to make Bengali a compulsory language in all schools in Bengal.

Cops realised around 11.15 am that they were heavily outnumbered and fled even as GJM supporters torched parked police vehicles. GJM supporters are creating violence and attacking police.

The IRB second battalion Assistant Commandant Kiran Tamang was critically injured after being hit by a "khukri" (sharp-edged weapon) during the clash, IRB sources said.

"Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said we have a link with north-east based terrorists group, which is totally wrong". They (GJM) have connections with underground insurgent groups of the north east. Army contingents were present in Darjeeling in the morning, but later a heavy deployment paramilitary and police force personnel was made.

"We are not ready for talks with West Bengal government".

Shouts of "Police go back" and "Gorkhaland-Gorkhaland" reverberated through the picturesque hills as some Gorkha activists claimed that the protest has shifted from the political to the commoners' movement in the hills. Instead, it accused the GJM supporters of opening fire but stayed mum on the casualty count.

The current agitation started off as protests against an alleged move by the Trinamool government to impose Bengali in schools in the hills where most people speak Nepali. Police then fired teargas shells and used batons to disperse the crowd, they said.

Criticising the Centre's role in, Rai termed the role of alliance partner BJP as "unfortunate and very disappointing" adding that the Morcha had expected "something positive from the part of the central government".

"If someone tries to scare me with a gun, the person may not realise that I have it in me to snatch away the gun", she said.



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