Published: Sun, June 18, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Darjeeling turns into battleground, police firing kills 2 GJM men

The protesters, also carrying black flags and the Tricolour, assembled at the Chowkbazar. The indefinite bandh enforced by the GJM was announced following the aforementioned raid on its Patlebas office. Three people were killed allegedly in police firing during a violent agitation for a separate State of Gorkhaland on Saturday.

An assistant commandant of the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB)'s 2nd Battalion, Kiran Tamang, was critical after agitators slashed his throat when he tried to prevent them from setting police vehicles on fire in front of Singmari police outpost. Banerjee also urged them to lift the indefinite strike called in Darjeeling and directed West Bengal Home Secretary Moloy De to hold an all-party meeting on June 22 in Siliguri, The Times of India reported. While police claimed that GJM supporters started pelting stones forcing them to retaliate, protesters said that the police stopped their rally and started firing tear gas shells first. "We have got information that the GJM have connections with underground insurgent groups in the northeast". "If the situation continues like this, it would be hard to transport ration and essential commodities", she had said at a press conference on Saturday.

Appealing to all stakeholders to solve the situation through "dialogue and not violence" Mr Singh said, " In a democracy like India resorting to violence will never help in finding a solution.

"Although we are fundamentally supporting small states, each case has to be examined in its own light, and certain sensitivities, being borderline states, they have to be taken into consideration. Can you see the number of people who have turned up today to mourn and protest?" said Sonal Chetri, a resident of Darjeeling.

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Authorities repeatedly asked protesters to leave before making 18 arrests shortly after midnight on Saturday, the statement said. Officers say that four of the protestors didn't comply and they were arrested.

However, Amar Rai said his son has no political affiliations and he was released later.

Scenes across Darjeeling and nearby Ghoom resembled a battlefield with charred buses, police vehicles and bricks strewn on the road.

On Sunday, Anuj Sharma, the director general of West Bengal police, said "at least 35 policemen were injured yesterday". "Out of those 20 police personnel, five received gunshot injuries and two were injured by sharp weapon", Siddharth Gupta, Additional District General, Operations, told ANI.

"Police had not fired".

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Around 50 people have been wounded in riots and arson attacks that began more than a week ago.

The dead man appeared to have been shot but the circumstances were still unclear, Sharma added. Two of our supporters have died because of the state government.

The pro-Gorkhaland supporters were going to meet Bimal Gurung at Patlebas, the operational head quarter and residence of the GJM chief. "If the Centre intervenes, the state government will accuse it of meddling with federalism". I appeal everyone to stop this violence and call off the strike. She said tourism is the backbone of the Hills' economy and if the tourists' footfalls decrease, the Hills would starve.

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