Clashes, protests intensify amid shutdown in India's Darjeeling town

Responding to the violent protests, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee expressed her disappointment and said that GJM has now started using insurgency groups to foment trouble.

"We have apprised the home minister of the prevailing situation in Darjeeling and the Mamata Banerjee government's attempts to impose Bengali in the district-based schools".

"Her party was involved in terror in other districts during the municipal elections but she could not do anything in the hills and therefore she is now trying to disturb the peace of people living in the Hills", he said. It is not a political fight but a fight for our own identity.

Thousands of protestors took out rallies on the streets of Darjeeling amid tight security, including by army patrols, to mark the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha's protest against alleged killing of its three activists in police firing and also pressing the demand of a separate state of Gorkhaland. Looking at the angry GJM supporters who went on rampage torching a railway station, a police outpost and vehicles after a police raid on party chief Bimal Gurung's house in Darjeeling shows that they aren't listening to the court, even after it had passed an order citing the bandh was illegal.

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On the boil for the past 10 days over a separate state demand, Darjeeling had yesterday witnessed widespread clashes between GJM activists and the police in which one person was killed and 35 security personnel were injured, including an India Reserve Battalion (IRB) officer.

Rajnath Singh said all concerned parties should resolve their differences through dialogue in an amicable environment.

Holding aloft the tricolour, GJM youth members led the rally from Chawk Bazar, the famous lower market area on the Hill cart Road in Darjeeling, passionately shouting pro-Gorkhaland slogans. Police did not fire rubber bullets or water cannons. However, the GJM has condemned all sorts of violence in the region and said that miscreants, rather than GJM volunteers, were involved in the violence.

Tamang also claimed police arrested Vikram Rai, son of GJM MLA Amar Rai. We will continue with our movement.

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The GJM wants a new, separate state of "Gorkhaland" carved out of eastern West Bengal state, of which Darjeeling is a part. However, according to a report in the Telegraph, the central government seems to have changed their mind somewhat - now saying that they will send the extra forces only after the West Bengal government submits a situation report.

While addressing the media for the first time on the issue in New Delhi, he said, "Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is responsible for the current situation in the Hills". Meanwhile, Rajnath Singh said the Centre would send more forces "if required" to Darjeeling.

Except for medicine stores, all others shops and hotels remained closed in Darjeeling.

Baton-wielding police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters as unrest over a long-simmering separatist movement rattles the town at the height of India's tourist season. However, GJM supporters took out a procession on Saturday; when police stopped them, they hurled stones and bottles.

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