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18 Junio 2017, 04:47 | Crisanna Felipe
Darjeeling: Trouble-hit Darjeeling continued to simmer on Saturday as an assistant commandant of the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) was killed when Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activists clashed with security forces here.
Meanwhile, lashing out at the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's led demonstration, WB Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said "Five years you enjoyed, now when elections are coming you start violence because you have lost credibility", while denying all deaths in the clashes and said Tamang was critical.
The shutdown and protests in Darjeeling continue despite local government assurances that the new rule to impose Bengali would not be enforced in the hill districts. We will not stop until and unless Gorkhaland is achieved.
She said the GJM was being helped by some other countries too but did not elaborate. In addition, a public works department office in Bijonbari was set on fire, allegedly by GJM supporters, at 1 am.
There was a deep-rooted conspiracy in the Hills she said vowing, "I will never let Darjeeling get split from Bengal till I am alive". During the telephonic conversation, the chief minister briefed the Union home minister about the steps taken by the state government to maintain law and order and restore normalcy in the hill district, official sources said.
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. "So we need to prepare ourselves to counter the state government democratically", GJM central committee member and former in-charge of GLP Colonel (retd) Ramesh Alley told PTI. I am told there is a connection with underground insurgents from the northeast India. "Not a single bullet was sacked, It was the GJM which was firing at us", he said.
GJM claimed that three of its supporters were killed in police firing. "Police have not fired". While police claimed that GJM supporters started pelting stones forcing them to retaliate, protesters said that the police stopped their rally and started firing tear gas shells first.
The Bengal Opposition parties blamed Mamata for igniting the situation in Darjeeling through her "aggressive all-devouring policy" and for allowing the situation to gradually slip out of hand thereafter by trying to handle the situation with force.
There were reports of clashes between police and protesters from several places, as they threw stones at each other. "We can not tolerate this hooliganism", Sharma said.
"Let's see how far we can go", a young woman protester said while talking to a television channel. She said tourism is the backbone of the Hills' economy and if the tourists' footfalls decrease, the Hills would starve.
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