Darjeeling Gorkha separatists clash with police

"We are ready for talks with the Centre, but the agenda has to be only Gorkhaland", Rai said. In a democracy like India resorting to violence will never help in finding a solution. Banerjee also said that the violence and protests in Darjeeling is part of a deep-rooted conspiracy. Paid only a paltry allowance, the GLP youths were promised to be absorbed into the police force after the creation of Gorkhaland.

The officials claimed that almost 36 of the security personnel were injured while trying to contain the violence, and denied that they opened fire at the protesters. Many Darjeeling residents, including the people from the minority community, joined the march, demanding peace to be restored in the hills.

All hopes of a climb-down from Mamata Banerjee were quashed when the chief minister, addressing reporters from her office in Kolkata, adopted a defiant posture, denying the police had any role in the deaths of GJM supporters earlier in the day.

A public library, two panchayat offices and a police vehicle were set ablaze at Kalimpong on Sunday, though Darjeeling, the hub of the GJM-led agitation for a separate Gorkhaland, remained incident-free.

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

"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. Not a single bullet was sacked, It was the GJM which was firing at us", he said.

Thousands of protestors took out rallies on the streets of Darjeeling amid tight security, including by army patrols, to mark the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha's protest against alleged killing of its three activists in police firing and also pressing the demand of a separate state of Gorkhaland.

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

After getting the news about the erupting violence in the state, Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, met GJM general secretary, Roshan Giri, and BJP's Darjeeling lawmaker, SS Ahluwalia, to handle the condition.

On June 17, baton-wielding police fired teargas shells to disperse protesters after they were attacked with stones, leaving 12 people injured in the attack. "I am ready to talk to them on this matter as we can not support violation of the Constitution", Mamata added.

The GJM, which is also an ally of the NDA government at the Centre, is looking forward to the Central government for a positive intervention in the matter.

A policeman uses a megaphone to organise queues of tourists waiting to leave Darjeeling.

Meanwhile, GJM leaders claimed that Vikram Rai, son of GJM MLA Amar Rai, was "picked up" by the police from Darjeeling.

"We have apprised the home minister of the prevailing situation in Darjeeling and the Mamata Banerjee government's attempts to impose Bengali in the district-based schools".

  • Leroy Wright