Darjeelingprotests:Policeman stabbed during Gorkhaland stir, two GJM workers die in firing
A policeman and two political workers have died in clashes in Darjeeling on Saturday as violence has convulsed the picturesque mountain resort and the army crossed the street to press against protests demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.
Local sources said Kiran Tamang, an officer in the Indian reserve battalion, was stabbed in the back with a traditional Gorkha knife while security forces struggled to contain the crowds of thousands of people who burned police cars and looted Government property shouting slogans against the government.
“Five years that you have enjoyed now, when elections are held, violence starts because it has lost credibility,” said Mamata Banerjee, the main minister in Calcutta, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha who heads events. It is expected that before August – Elections in the Autonomous Territory Gorkha Administration – controlled by the GJM.
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Undersecretary of GJM, Binay Tamang, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha carrying the demonstrations, claimed that two supporters were shot dead by the police, but their identity could not be determined immediately.
Deputy director general of police (order) Anuj Sharma denied that police had fired on protesters, but the local television footage showed bullets fire forces in the air.
“We want a judicial investigation into the firing, and the police did not fire rubber balls or water cannons, they opened fire with .303 caliber bullets, are we enemies of India?” Tamang told reporters.
Thousands of tourists fled Darjeeling – known as the queen of the hills – as clashes erupted on June 8 between government forces and GJM. Parts of the hill – led by ally GJM BJP – gathered to press a 100-year petition to separate Gorkhaland plains from West Bengal, a claim strongly opposed by Banerjee.
Supporters of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) are involved in government institutions such as hydroelectric projects and health centers.
These are the first deaths in the protests as the spiraling violence in the hills after a police raid in the office of the GJM chief, Bimal Gurung, who is hiding. Experts fear that blood can fall Darjeeling riots in the 1980s, when hundreds of people died when the state government brutally repressed the movement.
An autonomous Hill Council with special administrative authority has been established as a compromise, but is plagued by allegations of corruption dilatory and governmental projects.
The government reported that it will not bow to the GJM, but faces an unprecedented crisis, just weeks after the Trinamool Congress has made history by recording its first victory on a hill in the city when Mirik won.
Saturday scenes in Darjeeling and Ghoom looked like near a battlefield with charred buses, police vehicles and stones and mutilated dozens of balls scattered on the road. There were blood stains on the road in the Lebong Basket Front street of the University of San Jose.
Police fired tear gas and GJM supporters who began throwing stones at them. Many GJM women also work in the streets to protest. GJM supporters had the advantage of knowing the terrain and local roads that shocked and surprised the security forces.
“Mortal supporters take advantage of the local advantage and attack the police.It is unfortunate.We expect it to withstand vandalism in the hills with people,” said Darjeeling’s mediator, Trinamool’s president, Goutam Deb, who is Also Minister of State for Tourism.
Meanwhile, Bikram Rai, an employee of the GTA media cell and the son of the MP of Darjeeling, Amar Singh Rai, who was arrested at his residence last night, was released on Saturday.