losangelesnewstoday.com
losangelesnewstoday.com June 24, 2017


Rajnath reviews security in Darjeeling, more troops sent; situation remains tense

19 June 2017, 12:05 | Violet Powell

S Darjeeling tense as GJM raid brings violence and more central forces Jun 16 2017 16:09 IST

Police personnel stop Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters following a raid at the GJM office in Darjeeling

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the second time in two days and appealed to the protesters not to resort to violence and come forward for a dialogue to resolve any issue.

As the GJM shutdown entered its sixth day, Banerjee strongly condemned the vandalism by the GJM and alleged a "deep-rooted conspiracy".

The fresh clashes in Darjeeling over Gorkhaland statehood movement has claimed the lives of three people - a security personnel and two supporters of the GJM at the city's Singmari area. "I am ready to talk to them on this matter as we can not support violation of the Constitution", Mamata added.

Eyewitness said security personnel initially fired tear gas shells to disperse the GJM protestors pelting stones at them, and later resorted to firing after the protest turned violent. She said illegal arms are being stashed in the Hills and foreign hands are fuelling the fire.

The GJM supporters blocked the road near Dalsingpara tea estate in Jaigaon, choking the only road connecting India and Bhutan. "I have requested that they should not extend any support in Darjeeling", she said.

The police on Friday 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.

Mandsaur violence: MP CM Chouhan to visit farmer's families
He criticised the BJP-led NDA government and said 50 crore farmers have risen against the saffron party. Heavy deployment of police is in place at the Nayagaon barrier along Madhya Pradesh-Rajasthan border.

Rubbishing reports of firing by the police in Darjeeling this morning, Banerjee said "This is absolutely wrong. So, instead of leaving these issues pending, a dialogue with people who are demanding has to be taken up as soon as possible", she said.

Almost 50 people, mostly police, have been injured in riots and arson attacks that have gripped the usually bustling area for more than a week and caused thousands of mostly Indian tourists to pack their bags and flee. She also urged the Centre to extend support to her government in Kolkata and to avoid encouraging the GJM.

"Heads of these development boards have been asked to persuade their people to disassociate from the agitation and violence", the official said, "Once the number of agitators starts dwindling, the protest is bound to subside". We will talk only with the central government. "But we have to prepare ourselves", he said.

On the fourth day of the indefinite strike called by the GJM in Darjeeling hills, Singhamari, which has been the epicentre of the protests, wore a look of desolation and devastation. "Hooliganism and talks can not take place at the same time", Mamata said. "The government should allow us to carry out peaceful and democratic agitation", Darjeeling MLA Amar Rai of the GJM told reporters.

The state government will hold an all party meeting in Siliguri on June 22 for peace in the hills.

The GJM announced an indefinite general strike from Monday in the hills encompassing Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts and the Dooars (foothills of the Himalayas covering stretches of Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar district) to oppose the government's purported decision to make study of Bengali language compulsory in state-run schools and to press for a separate state of Gorkhaland.



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