Darjeeling protests: Mamata Banerjee appeals for peace, warns GJM

Arson in Kalimpong GJM marches with victims’ bodies

Arson in Kalimpong GJM marches with victims’ bodies

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged all stakeholders to attend the all-party meeting scheduled for June 22 in Siliguri.

Had the state government come out with a statement declaring that Bengali would not be imposed in the hills, the situation would not have turned so violent, said a student of renowned college of Darjeeling.

"Solution can be reached through meetings and dialogues only when peace is maintained", she said before leaving for the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal government has sent a report on the ongoing violence in Darjeeling to the Home Ministry. "The government should allow us to carry out peaceful and democratic agitation", said Darjeeling MLA Amar Rai of the GJM.

The GJM, which now helms the movement for Gorkhaland, said at the previous meeting it wants to bring to the fore representatives of smaller Gorkha outfits to lead the movement. The police rejected the allegations of firing by its personnel, and said one person was killed during the clashes. The Gorkha protesters held a silent march to the centre of the popular hill town, carrying the bodies. Security forces patrolled the streets as the situation remained tense on the fifth day of the GJM-organised indefinite shutdown. "But we are on high alert and are prepared for any eventuality", said a senior police officer. They said they were disappointed with Centre's role and questioned Darjeeling's BJP MP SS Ahluwalia's absence.

Since June 8, Darjeeling has witnessed clashes between GJM activists and police over the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state.

Police pickets and barricades were placed in front of government and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) offices and various entry-exit points of the hills. The protestors are also asking for a long pending demand for a separate Gorkhaland for the people of the hills.Earlier in the day, GJM leader Bimal Gurung accused the West Bengal Police of using coercive methods against his supporters and that in the process they have killed two of them.

The student seemed very well versed with the ideologies of Karl Marx and Che Guevara and added by saying, "I have my own identity and don't want to get it mixed up with others".

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