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Darjeeling Gorkha separatists clash with police

Darjeeling Gorkha separatists clash with police”

Indian security forces fire tear gas canisters during clashes with supporters of the separatist Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) group in Darjeeling.

The police last night raided the residence of senior GJM leader Binay Tamang, following which party activists tried to torch a PWD office in Bijanbari area in Darjeeling.

The GJM which is in power in the semi-autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, is spearheading the agitation there demanding a separate state - Gorkhaland.

The situation turned violent after four activists of the GJM were killed and several others injured in clashes with the police in Darjeeling.

Darjeeling has been witnessing violence and protests in recent times. The Morcha claims the men were party activists who had died in the police firing on Saturday.

GJM leaders said Vikram Rai, son of GJM MLA Amar Rai, was "picked up" by the police from Darjeeling. The GJM supporters burnt down the primary health centre. Police then fired teargas shells and used batons to disperse the crowd, they said. As per the report, the commandant belonged to the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB), and he had his throat slit when he attempted to prevent protesters from setting police vehicles on fire in front of the police outpost in Singmari. "Three of our comrades were killed and five were critically injured in police gunfire yesterday", GJM's general secretary Roshan Giri told AFP.

"In today's incident, two of our supporters were killed by the police". According to police sources, the step was taken to stop the GJM activists from using social media to spread "messages and provocative posts".

It may be recalled that the Army has already been called to take control of the situation.

A Union home ministry official said the Centre was treading with caution because of two factors.

Meanwhile in what seemed like the Hill agitation is slowly spreading in the Plains the GJM and associated parties had called a 12-hour bandh in Dooars region on Sunday. "They (GJM) have connections with underground insurgent groups of the north east.", Banerjee said. The home minister's request came as Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung said the protest would continue.

The state government will hold an all party meeting in Siliguri on June 22 for peace in the hills. "I appealed to all the Gorkhas to protest against torture". The development boards were set up by the Mamata Banerjee government created between 2013 and 2017 but are battling graft charges.

During his conversation with the chief minister, Singh discussed the situation prevailing in the hills.

After Saturday's violence, the ongoing shutdown in the hills has become even more pronounced.

The toy-train services of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) have been suspended in view of the strike for the safety of passengers, staff and the property of the DHR. 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.



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