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Gorkhaland Movement - 3 GJM supporter killed in firing, one police officer critically injured

Police firing over Gorkhaland supporter
On the third day of the indefinite strike, Darjeeling turned into a war zone with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha claiming three of their cadres were killed in police firing. One police officer who was attacked with sharp weapons is in critical condition. The army was subsequently called in to cordon and patrol the disturbed areas. Tensions still prevail in several parts of the Hills with heavy deployment of police and paramilitary personnel.

Various areas in the Hills saw pitched battles between GJM supporters and police. Four vehicles, including a police van, were torched at various places. As police allegedly resorted to firing and lobbing tear gas shells after lathi charge, GJM workers in return hurled petrol bombs and stones on policemen.

“Police did not fire. What is happening today is deep rooted conspiracy. Bombs and arms were stockpiled. It is sad that one assistant commandant is critically injured. We are shocked and sad. They are not listening to the court, which passed a verdict which said bandh is illegal. I will request to central government not to indulge them. There is connection between Northeast insurgency and the agitators. There is the hand of some country. I will not like to reveal,” said Mamata Banerjee at a press conference in Kolkata.

“Home secretary will hold an all party meeting on 22 June to bring peace in the Hills in Siliguri. Anyone can talk with anyone but first bandh should be lifted,” stressed Banerjee.

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On the other hand, Bimal Gurung, chief of the GJM, alleged the security forces, prodded by the state government, fired at protesters.

“Peaceful and democratic rallies were taken out by women Morcha. Bengal government, an autocratic government fired on us. I ask the people of Hills to protest,” said Gurung in a recorded message in Nepali.

According to GJM, three persons – Bimal Sashankar of Goke busty, Sunil Rai of Kainjalay, and Mahesh Gurung of Relling were killed in the clashes. While Bimal and Sunil were killed in Singmari area, GJM claimed Mahesh was killed in Ghoom.

“Three of our people have died after police resorted to firing. Five persons are injured. Are we terrorists? Police fired on us when we took out rally for Gorkhaland in a democratic way. We will,” said Binay Tamang, assistant general secretary of GJM.

Kiran Tamang, assistant commandant of IRB was attacked by GJM workers and sustained critical injuries.

The clashes began in the morning when Gorkha Nari Morcha, GJM’s women wing, brought out a rally in Singmari carrying national flags and chanting pro-Gorkhaland slogans. A contingent of policemen tried to stop the rally. When GJM workers tried to walk towards the District Magistrate’s office, police resorted to lathi-charge on the women.

GJM workers started pelting stones at the police who then lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the mob. Within minutes, the area turned into a battle zone. GJM workers lobbed crude bombs while gunshots were also heard. Police claimed they fired rubber bullets.

Several media personnel, including the Indian Express team were caught in between the crossfire and managed to find shelter at a nearby house as clashes continued outside.

Meanwhile, clashes broke out in other parts of Hills, including Lebong, Chowbazar and Ghoom railway station areas.

Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

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