'Dialogue, Not Violence': Rajnath Singh's Message To Darjeeling

Marco Green
June 26, 2017

Kolkata/Darjeeling: Violent protests for statehood in Darjeeling took an ugly turn on Saturday as a security personnel was stabbed and local Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders, who are spearheading the agitation for a separate Gorkhaland in the Hills of West Bengal, claimed police firing killed two of its cadres.

GJM general secretary Roshan Giri and BJP's Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and placed their demands before him.

He also rejected West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's charge that the GJM has connections with North East based militant groups and said that "she is trying to divert our movement". "We had to resort to lathi charge", a senior police official said.

Police raided Gurung's house on Thursday morning, amid the ongoing GJM-sponsored indefinite shut down in the hills, and said they have seized bows and arrows, knives, axes, explosives and a large quantity of cash.

Mumbai/Kolkata: "Amid the fresh agitation for Gorkhaland in the Darjeeling hills, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday accused the Modi government of encouraging the stir and claimed there was a "deep-rooted" conspiracy" behind it.

Baton-wielding police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters as unrest over a long-simmering separatist movement rattles the town at the height of India's tourist season.

The immediate trigger for the June 17 protests, however, were alleged "police atrocities" on GJM workers, some of them women, arrested over the past few days. I will request the central government not to encourage this group by any means and cooperate with the state government, " Banerjee said at Nabanna.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, thousands of GJM protesters today took out huge rallies to observe a "black day" in Darjeeling to protest the death of three its activists in police firing. Unrest in the Darjeeling hills started last week when the West Bengal government decided to make Bengali a compulsory language in all schools in Bengal.

Singmari turned into a battleground when police stopped a rally by the GJM as prohibitory orders were in force.

Singh further said: "All concerned parties and stakeholders should resolve their differences and misunderstandings through dialogue in amicable environment". Many Darjeeling residents, including the people from the minority community, joined the march, demanding peace to be restored in the hills. Now when election is coming, they resorted to violence. However, the GJM has condemned all sorts of violence in the region and said that miscreants, rather than GJM volunteers, were involved in the violence.

Police said one man died and 35 police officers were hurt in the violence on Saturday.

The police are on high alert after Friday's violence and arson.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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