The Gorkhaland protests in Darjeeling on Saturday turned violent as first death was reported in the hill town. According to Indian Reserve Battalion sources, an Assistant Commander of the IRB was killed in clash with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha activists in Darjeeling.
The indefinite shutdown called by Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) continued on Saturday fuelling fresh violence in Darjeeling. The picturesque hill station was teeming with tourists just a few days ago but the suddenturmoil and indefinite bandh seemed to have dealt a body blow to tourism, one of the two main industries in the hills.
Here are the live updates:
#6:30 PM: ABSU blames Bengal and central govts for Darjeeling crisis
All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) supported the ‘Gorkhaland’ demand and blamed the West Bengal and the Union governments for the present crisis in Darjeeling hills. “The outburst of tension in Darjeeling area is nothing but an unwarranted outcome of the autocratic rule of the Bengal government as well as the Centre’s utter negligence to the problem,” ABSU president Pramod Boro told reporters.
He said the demand of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) was historically and constitutionally legitimate, correct and justified. “As a member of the National Federation for New States (NFNS) we express our support and solidarity to the Gorkha people’s movement for Gorkhaland,” Boro said. The ABSU leader, however, urged the GJM leadership to lead the movement through democratic, peaceful and non-violent means.
He also appealed to the Bengal administration to maintain peace in the area. ABSU further urged the central government to immediately intervene in the matter and concede the demand of the Gorkhas for a separate Gorkhaland state so that permanent peace could prevail in the region. “We demand immediate intervention of the Centre in this matter as it was a pre-poll commitment of the BJP and the party’s central committee should also clarify its stand on the issue,” he added.
#6:00 PM: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Binay Tamang claimed that two of his party workers were killed when the police opened fire at a GJM procession. ADG (law and order) Anuj Sharma, however, denied the allegation and said the police did not open fire. “It was the GJM activists who opened fire,” he said. One person was killed in the violence, he said. Many others suffered injuries during the protests. This was the first death since violent protests returned to Darjeeling on June 8, after a gap of a few years. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters in Kolkata that Assistant Commandant of the IRB’s 2nd Battalion Kiran Tamang was critically injured in the violence. He has been admitted to a hospital, she said. Earlier, IRB sources said Tamang had been killed in the clash.
#5:30 PM: West Bengal CM says IRB personnel is seriously injured but not dead in clashes with Gorkhaland activists
#4:14 PM: Mahesh Gurung, a GJM supporter who was critically injured succumbed to injuries: Binay Tamang, Asst General Secy, GJM
#3:25 PM: Police illegally entering supporters houses&torturing them,2 of them killed by police; will strengthen our movement now: GJM Chief
#2:50 PM: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee addresses media:
-It is sad that they (protesters) killed one of our Asst. Commanders TN Tamang with a "khukri"
-What is happening is a deep-rooted conspiracy. These arms were not collected in a day, they were collected over time
-Where did they get illegal arms & money from? Ready to talk to them, we cannot support violation of the Constitution
-5 years you enjoyed, now when elections are coming you start violence because you have lost credentials
-They aren't listening to the court also. Court passed order saying bandh is illegal. Dont know from where they get support
An Assistant Commander of the Indian Reserve Battalion killed in clash with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha activists in Darjeeling: IRB sources
After this tension prevailed in the hills and hardly any tourist is visible on the deserted roads, including the one leading to the mall. Several tourists who had come to enjoy the scenic beauty of the 'Queen of Hill Stations' were finding it difficult to get down safely to the plains.