Cop injured in clashes, GJM claims 3 fatalities

The unrest and turmoil that erupted in the Darjeeling hills last week, is not likely to settle down anytime soon, as leaders from the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) have made it clear that they are unlikely to settle for any sort of compromise with the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal. Tamang's family members alleged that police broke into their residence around 3 am and ransacked it and that Trinamool members accompanied the police.

On June 17 (Saturday) around 1 am, suspected Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters set fire to Goke II gram panchayat office under Bijanbari block about 25 km away from Darjeeling.

Tamang also claimed Vikram Rai, son of party MLA Amar Rai, had been arrested. The police said they had received information on only one death.

On Saturday, scenes across Darjeeling and nearby Ghoom resembled a battlefield with charred buses, police vehicles and scores of stones and mangled bottles strewn across the road.

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Banerjee also slammed GJM supporters for "insulting" the national flag.

Local sources said Kiran Tamang, an India Reserve Battalion officer, was stabbed in the back with a traditional Gorkha knife as security forces struggled to contain thousands-strong mob that torched police vehicles and ransacked government property, shouting anti-government slogans. The outfit was first named Gorkhaland Police, but after opposition from various quarters it was renamed Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP). "They (GJM) have evacuated foreign tourists from the hotels forcefully", she said adding that the activists were not obeying the Calcutta High Court order that the bandh is illegal.

The Army has also been called in.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh has appealed for calm, urging protesters and the state government to hold talks.

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CM Mamata Banerjee said, "This is a deep-rooted conspiracy". Gurung died on his way to Siliguri while the two other died on the spot.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MP Kalvakuntla Kavitha on Sunday said a dialogue must be initiated with those demanding a separate Gorkhaland state and the issue thoroughly examined, and that it should not be kept lingering for long. They (GJM) have stopped tourism, transport, drinking water supply and food. She should stop lecturing so much and concentrate on her job. She is trying to mislead people.

Her remarks drew a derisive response from BJP chief Amit Shah, who said she saw "conspiracy in everything".

The North Frontier Rail (NFR) stated that train services in Darjeeling have been suspended until further notice.

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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 government's purported decision to make Bengali language compulsory in state-run schools and to press for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

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