Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters hold massive protest demanding 'Gorkhaland'

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 20, 2017

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday left for The Hague in the Netherlands to attend a United Nations meet as unrest continued to rage in Darjeeling where an indefinite strike called by the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha entered the eight dayhe eighth day.

"We appeal to everybody to maintain harmony", Ms. Banerjee said. It added, "We condemn the unprovoked atrocious act by West Bengal police and their torture on unarmed civilians on the streets of Darjeeling".

Mamata Banerjee told ANI that the supporters of GJM are not listening to the court, even after it had passed an order citing the bandh was "illegal". The 92-kilometres-long NH-31A connects Sevoke in Darjeeling to Gangtok and is considered the lifeline of Sikkim. The police also conducted raids on offices and homes of GJM leaders. "In fact, there will be raids tonight itself which will be on the basis of our intelligence inputs".

The GJM had on Saturday ruled out any discussion with the West Bengal government.

"We blocked internet connectivity to prevent spread of misinformation and rumours through social networking apps", said a senior government official who is camping in Darjeeling.

Carrying bodies of the two supporters in a hearse with GJM flags and posters terming them as "martyrs of Gorkhaland", thousands of locals, including GJM activists, shouted slogans like "police, go back". Some agitators burnt effigies of Banerjee while repeating their demand for Gorkhaland.

GJM has claimed three of their activists have been killed. "We are ready to give our lives, but will not stop protesting till we get Gorkhaland", Sirish Pradhan, a GJM worker, said. GJM supporters assembled at the Chowk Bazar in protest against the death of three activists.

In West Bengal, the situation in the violence-scarred, strike-bound Darjeeling Hills continues to be tense. Since morning, there has been no incident of violence. The truck, laden with bricks, was coming from Sevoke, the police officer said.

From Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh appealed for calm and peace in Darjeeling. The BJP MP has not visited the city once since the crisis broke out.

"The role of alliance partner the BJP is very unfortunate and very disappointing". But the leadership expressed willingness to talk with the central government.

We, the Muslims of Darjeeling, also demand a separate state.

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