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

The 10th day of the Darjeeling stand-off saw blood being spilled on the streets, with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha claiming death of three supporters in police firing and a central paramilitary force assistant commandant battling for life after agitators slashed his throat.

The protesters, also carrying black flags and the Tricolour, assembled at the Chowkbazar.

Scenes across Darjeeling and nearby Ghoom resembled a battlefield with charred buses, police vehicles and bricks strewn on the road. We will investigate the matter. "The state government can talk to any government agency, but the government cannot bear hooliganism", she said. It was the GJM which was firing at us.

"West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee went on the offensive on Saturday and accused the Modi government of encouraging the stir, claiming there was a "deep-rooted" conspiracy" behind it even as she slammed the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha for terrorist links.

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.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who spoke to Mamata Banerjee on the situation in violence-hit hill district of West Bengal, appealed for peace saying that "every issue can be resolved through mutual dialogue".

The rally was preceded by a silent march of the civilians on Sunday morning, demanding peace to be restored in the hills.

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"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. According to an IPS officer, the stone-pelters would simply duck behind rocks as the tear gas shells sailed past.While the sure-footed and slight youngsters who participated in Saturday's clashes didn't carry any equipment, the policemen were bogged down by shields, body armour, canes, guns and webbing holding extra magazines. The outfit was first named Gorkhaland Police, but after opposition from various quarters it was renamed Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP).

After initial selection, almost 3000 youths were trained for joining GLP.

"We will seek a discussion with the Centre". The force in 2009 enforced bandhs called by GJM, ensured that locals wear traditional Nepali attire at least thrice a week, seize and destroy liquor and provide protection to Gurung and top GJM leaders.

The alleged police raid and vandalising of the residence of Tamang at around 3 a.m. triggered massive resistance from GJM supporters.

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

"All of us want to assert our own independent identity which is a good thing because we have been united despite being so diverse in our cultural backdrop".

Hinting that the unrest was Gurung's way of postponing the impending GTA elections, she said: "Five years you (GJM) enjoyed, now when elections are coming you start violence because you have lost credentials. Are we the enemies of India?".


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