Cop injured in clashes, GJM claims 3 fatalities

However, the state administration rejected GJM's claim, and stated that the police never opened fire on any of their supporters.

Singmari turned into a battleground when police stopped a rally by the GJM as prohibitory orders were in force. "They are stockpiling illegal arms and bombs", she said.

GJM leader Binay Tamang claimed that two of his party workers were killed when the police opened fire at a GJM procession here.

MP Kalvakuntla Kavitha today said a dialogue must be initiated with those demanding a separate Gorkhaland state and the issue thoroughly examined, and that it should not be kept lingering for long.

Tamang was reportedly attacked by khukhri, a traditional weapon.

Kavitha said even during the agitation for creation of Telangana, which was formed three years ago after bifurcating Andhra Pradesh, there were movements pushing for Vidarbha and Gorkhaland states, and the TRS always held the view that every demand had to be treated and looked at separately.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday squarely blamed the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) for unleashing violence in northern West Bengal hills where protests and arson took centrestage, as GJM activists, including the women's wing, clashed with the police, ratcheting up their demand for a separate Gorkhaland state.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh is believed to have had a phone conversation with Mamta Banerjee to discuss the situation. Police said at least 25 people were injured in clashes.

Condemning the unprovoked action on the part of the Bengal police and their ‘indiscriminate torture of unarmed civilians on the streets of Darjeeling, the ABSU president also alleged that the recovery of the so-called lethal weapons from the office of the GJM as shown in the media footage was nothing but a planted act of the Bengal police.

But supporters of the GJM insist three of their comrades were shot dead by police.

According to sources, the West Bengal state government has blocked mobile internet in the hills in a bid to prevent people from mass gathering.

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.

"We have apprised the Home Minister about the high-handedness of the police in dealing with the protesters in Darjeeling and have asked him to look into the matter". She is trying to mislead people.

The indefinite shutdown called by the GJM has paralysed life in the hill town as markets, shops, hotels and other business establishments have been closed. The GJM's supporters attacked security forces with bricks and bottles, in a worst violence since the flare-up on June 8.

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. "We had to resort to lathi charge", a senior police official said.

  • Aubrey Nash