Indian paramilitary troops deployed after three supporters of separatist group die in police firing

DARJEELING, INDIA: India's border security forces joined paramilitary troops on Wednesday to calm the violence that erupted on Tuesday in the Darjeeling hills of eastern India after three activists were killed in police firing, Press Trust of India reported.

Violence erupted on Tuesday after a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha ( GJM) camp in Jalpaiguri district was dismantled by a joint team of the West Bengal Police and India's paramilitary forces. Two members of the separatist group GJM died when the security forces fired at a crowd protesting against the dismantling of the GJM camp violating prohibitory orders, India Today reported.

Ten policemen were also injured in the resulting clashes when the police tried to stop the protesters. After the police gunfire, GJM supporters staged protests in front of police stations and torched the tourism office. Three vehicles were also set ablaze, the newspaper reported.

"Police firing follows certain rules. During yesterday's violence, the police first warned the agitators, then lathi [stick fighting] charged, fired teargas shells and finally opened fire," Inspector General of Police S Karpurakayastha said.

“The police can open fire in self-defence and to save life and in this case both causes were there," he added.

The GJM, which wants a separate hill state for the Nepali-speaking Gorkha people, demanded an investigation from India's Central Bureau of Investigation.

"We demand CBI inquiry since police despite having rubber bullets did not use those on GJM demonstrators killing two on the spot yesterday," GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told reporters. He claimed another supporter died this morning at a hospital.

The demonstrators were holding dharna (sit-in) in a peaceful manner and the police firing was unprovoked, he claimed.

Last month, the GJM announced a series of protests and asked people to be ready for a long- term agitation in the hills.

No violent incidents have been reported since Tuesday night. Two companies of India's Border Security Forces joined the five companies of paramilitary forces to maintain law and order.


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