Police Officer stabbed during protest in Darjeeling; CM alleges conspiracy
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 25, 2017,
Jun 25, 2017, 15:53
Darjeeling: A paramilitary jawan and a GJM (Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha) supporter were reportedly killed on Saturday in Darjeeling's Singmari area during fresh violent clashes between the security forces and the pro-Gorkhaland supporters.
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. "He is not dead".
Banerjee said she is ready for talks but not under the current situation.
GJM MLA from Darjeeling Amar Singh Rai told journalists that the State government's claim that the police did not open fire was "laughable".
"Two persons have been detained so far in the incident", said Darjeeling's Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Kumar Chaturvedi.
"17th June, 2017 was a black day for the people of the hills as we have lost three of our brothers in Darjeeling, who were demanding for Gorkhaland".
On a day otherwise flawless for a gentle stroll, Singamari, the ground zero of protests, witnessed intense clashes spanning over three hours as several police vehicles were torched and the area that is usually teeming with tourists turned into a virtual battleground.
However, the state administration rejected GJM's claim, and stated that the police never opened fire on any of their supporters. "We used batons and fired tear gas shells to control the crowd, and several policemen were also injured in the process", Chaturvedi 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.
Singh has been told the West Bengal government has not yet sent a report about the situation in Darjeeling.
GJM chief Bimal Gurung claimed that people of the hills are being tortured by the Bengal government.
"From where are they (GJM) are getting their support?"
The chief minister criticised the GJM and blamed them for the unrest. He also demanded a separate statehood for Gorkhaland, soon after which violence with security forces began in the adjoining areas.
The Gorkha activists on Sunday blocked roads and staged demonstrations at many places in the Dooars in support of the GJM's call for 12-hour strike in the region as the agitation in the hills spilled onto the plains.
Upping the ante, GJM activists, including the women's wing, came out on the streets in hundreds to protest an alleged police raid on the residence of party assistant General Secretary Binay Tamang.
The GJM has ruled out holding talks with the state authorities, saying it will only negotiate with India's central government.