Police illegally entering house, torturing supporters, claims GJM chief

West Bengal head Mamata Banerjee had insinuated on Saturday that the struggle for a separate state was fuelled by insurgent groups active in Northeast India and foreign elements.

Gurung on Sunday said, “Mamata Banerjee’s allegations are baseless”.

“All of us want to assert our own independent identity which is a good thing because we have been united despite being so diverse in our cultural backdrop”.

Darjeeling: Darjeeling is bracing for another shutdown as the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leadership has chose to hold a protest rally with the bodies of two persons allegedly killed during Saturday’s clashes.

Singh further said: “All concerned parties and stakeholders should resolve their differences and misunderstandings through dialogue in amicable environment”.

He said hundreds took to the streets of Darjeeling on Sunday for a silent protest against “police atrocities”, waving India’s tricolour flag and posters calling for peace.

On GJM supporters setting fire to several government offices and damaging water supply lines, the chief minister expressed concern over keeping up the supply of provisions to the hills.

There was a massive deployment of police and para- military personnel, but they didn’t stop the GJM from taking out the march with the bodies. “But I know that our party will not have a dialogue with the TMC-led state government alone”, Rai said.

Terming the situation “very very volatile”, GJM leader Amar Singh Rai claimed that a separate state of Gorkhaland is the biggest priority for them and rebuffed any possibility of discussions with the Bengal government.

On Saturday, The Hindu reported that clashes across Darjeeling killed one GJM supporter and injured 35 security personnel.

Massive protests in Darjeeling and sporadic incidents of violence in Kalimpong and Kurseong marked the GJM-called “black day” in the north Bengal hills on Sunday while its 12-hour strike in Dooars – foothills covering parts of Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts – received lukewarm response. However, according to a report in the Telegraph, the central government seems to have changed their mind somewhat – now saying that they will send the extra forces only after the West Bengal government submits a situation report.

The indefinite shutdown called by the GJM has paralysed life in the hill town as markets, shops, hotels and other business establishments have been closed.

The state government also asked the Army to deploy forces in the wake of the Bandh to ensure normalcy in the state. He added, “I appeal to the people living in Darjeeling and nearby areas to remain calm and peaceful”.

Indian security forces fire tear gas canisters during clashes with supporters of the separatist Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) group in Darjeeling.

The GJM insisted the police had fired on the protesters.

Thackeray has been consistently opposing the demand for formation of a separate Vidarbha state carved out of Maharashtra, a demand once supported even by the now Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis when his party was in the opposition.