Mamata leaves for The Netherlands even as Darjeeling stir continues

Gwen Vasquez
June 19, 2017

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which is in power in the semi-autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, is spearheading the agitation there demanding a separate state - Gorkhaland.

Darjelling: In protest against the killing of two persons during heavy clashes between security personnel and protesters, thousands of protesters assembled at the central Chowkbazar carrying dead body of a GJM activist and raised slogans demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland. The GJM had earlier claimed that three of its members were killed in police firing on Saturday, which was vehemently denied by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The GJM supporters torched a panchayat office at Mirik, a hydroelectric supply office at Lodhama in Darjeeling and a health centre in Rimbik- Lodhama. Singh had yesterday also spoken to Banerjee and asked her to take all possible steps so that peace is restored in the picturesque hill station where people are protesting against "imposition" of Bengali in schools by making the language mandatory.

"The police and the security forces should immediately be removed from the hills as a confidence-building measure", Rai said. "We will seek a discussion with the Centre". The Home Ministry had on Friday put on hold sending additional paramilitary personnel to Darjeeling as no report on the ground situation had come from the State.

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In a democracy like India, resorting to violence would never help in finding a solution, he said, emphasising that "every issue can be resolved through mutual dialogue". Mr. Singh also appeals to all parties in Darjeeling to remain peaceful. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in a Tweet advocated talks and negotiations to restore peace there.

Mamata, who left to address a United Nations meet, said her ministers were monitoring the situation in violence-hit Darjeeling.

During his conversation with the chief minister, Singh discussed the situation prevailing in the hills.

Army contingents, deployed to control the situation, staged flag marches in several areas. Singmari in Darjeeling had turned into a battleground as GJM activists clashed with the anti-riot police personnel, who fired teargas shells and lathi-charged the agitators.

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