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GJM-police clashes: One killed, IRB officer seriously injured

19 June 2017

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday appealed to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) protesters not to resort to violence and, instead hold dialogue with the government to resolve the issue.

Mamata Banerjee, responding to the violent turn of events, said on Saturday, "Bangla ke bhaag hote debo na (I will not let Bengal be divided)..."

Referring to the agitation against alleged imposition of Bengali, she said it was only an optional subject and not mandatory and GJM was spreading rumours to misguide the people of the hills. "The struggle will intensify in the hills".

Banerjee had yesterday said that the GJM-led agitation in Darjeeling hills is a "deep-rooted conspiracy" supported by the insurgent groups of the Northeast and some foreign countries. GJM set fire to our vehicles.

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Banerjee, who chaired a high level meet at the state secretariat in Nabanna of the various development boards of the hills, said an all-party meeting will be held in Siliguri on June 22 to discuss the growing unrest in the hills. "It was the GJM supporters who had started violence and attacked police with stones and petrol bombs", he told DNA.

The GJM, which is also an ally of the NDA government at the Centre, is looking forward to the Central government for a positive intervention in the matter. "I call upon every Gorkha family to come out against the state administration that has unleashed this repression", Gurung said from an undisclosed location. Many Darjeeling residents, including the people from the minority community, joined the march, demanding peace to be restored in the hills.

A state government official later said: "The problem has become acute as the area has some global borders from where arms were reportedly being smuggled into the hills for the past few months". "At the same time, being a silent spectator would amount to political suicide as it would alienate the ruling party from the rest of the state", said the senior official.

Scenes across Darjeeling and nearby Ghoom resembled a battlefield with charred buses, police vehicles and bricks strewn on the road.

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Refusing to get intimidated by the protesters, CM Banerjee on Monday said that she will not "bow down to threats". "Nobody should resort to violence".

Terming the situation in the hills as "very very volatile", GJM leader Amar Singh Rai claimed a separate state of Gorkhaland is the biggest priority for them and rebuffed any possibility of discussions with the Bengal government. Many of them were taken to Namchi hospital in South Sikkim for treatment.

The two GJM supporters who were killed in the incident have been identified as Sunil Rai from Kaijaley and Bimal Shasanker from Gok busty lost their lives during the strife as well.

On Saturday night, GJM supporters torched a couple of panchayat offices at Alay and Dalim in Gorubathan block in Kalimpong district.

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Banerjee said the state government is ready to initiate a dialogue with the party in a conducive environment.