Darjeeling unrest: 1 cop stabbed, GJM claims 2 protesters dead
A police officer was seriously injured after being stabbed by protesters during fresh clashes that erupted in Darjeeling. Two Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters were was also allegedly killed in firing as violence rocked the hill town on Saturday morning. The Army and para military forces have started to patrol the area. By 1.30 pm, security forces managed to establish some degree of control on the situation.
This was the first death reported since the protests broke out. The identity of the man killed is yet to be ascertained. The incident took place in front of the St Josephs Colleges on the outskirts of the town. The body has been taken to the Army hospital. The Army and para military forces have started to patrol the area. By 1.30 pm, security forces managed to establish some degree of control on the situation.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee clarified that the officer stabbed during protests is not dead, but seriously injured.
In a presser, Mamata asked the GJM the source of money to buy arms and ammunitions. 'Where did they get illegal arms and money from?'. She expressed willingness for talks saying the government cannot support violation of the Constitution.
Later, she asked the GJM as to why the protest had erupted now. For five years you enjoyed and when elections are coming up, you start violence. This is because you have lost your credentials, she also said.
Continuing her tirade against the protest, she alleged a deep rooted conspiracy behind the protest. 'These arms were not collected in a day, they were collected over time,' she said.
She also held a high-level meeting with members of Darjeeling development boards, ADG Law & Order, DG Bengal Police,Chief Secretary and Home Secretary to take stock of the current situation in Kolkata.
Meanwhile, Darjeeling remained tense as the indefinite bandh called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha entered the sixth day on Saturday. As the protest of the GJM supporters intensified, security forces used rubber bullets to quell the mob.
During early afternoon reports poured in about GJM supporters hurling stones and bottles at police personnel. Afterwards, police resorted to lathicharge to control the mob.
On late Friday night, police arrested Vikram Rai, media manager of the GJM in Darjeeling, reported ANI. Police also raided and allegedly vandalised the residence of assistant general secretary of the GJM, Binay Tamang, on Friday night.
During the daytime on Friday, Darjeeling witnessed violent protests and arson by the supporters of the GJM against the raids carried out at the residence of GJM chief, Bimal Gurung, by the police.
The GJM supporters in the early morning hours on Friday torched a panchayat office at Mirik, a hydroelectric supply office at Lodhama in Darjeeling and a health centre in Rimbik-Lodhama. Because of the closure of hotels and non-availability of transportation tourists suffered a lot.
Local administration arranged bus services so that stranded tourists could get to neighbouring Siliguri.
The North Frontier Rail stated on Friday that train services in Darjeeling have been suspended until further notice. The toy-train services of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has been suspended in view of the strike for the safety of passengers, staffs and the property of the DHR.
The GJM announced an indefinite general strike from Monday in the hills encompassing Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts and the Dooars (foothills of the Himalayas covering stretches of Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar district) protesting against the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's decision to make Bengali language compulsory in state-run schools.
The strike was called even as the CM assured that the new rule would not be imposed in the hill districts. Now, the protesters are also asking for a separate Gorkhaland, a long pending demand of the people of the hills.
In Kolkata, CM Banerjee blamed intelligence failure for the fresh unrest in the hills.