The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has claimed that three of its supporters were killed in police firing on Saturday, the third day of protests that have hit the hills of north Bengal.
According to a report in The Times of India, GJM accused the police of opening fire on protesters near St Joseph's College located in Singmari, and in Ghoom, after the army was deployed due to increasing violence and stone pelting instances.
The report also said that protesters attacked Kirang Tamang, a central paramilitary force assistant commandant and slit his throat. He has been admitted to hospital, and is battling for life. As per the report, the commandant belonged to the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB), and he had his throat slit when he attempted to prevent protesters from setting police vehicles on fire in front of the police outpost in Singmari.
On Saturday, The Hindu reported that clashes across Darjeeling killed one GJM supporter and injured 35 security personnel. The report further added that GJM supporters had been killed in police firing after their women’s wing — Nari Morcha — organised a rally in Singmari. The rally turned violent, resulting in clashes between GJM supporters and security personnel, it said.
However, the state administration rejected GJM's claim, and stated that the police never opened fire on any of their supporters. They also accused GJM supporters of opening fire, but did not mention anything on casualties.
"Police did not open fire. This is absolutely wrong," West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said, as reported by Hindustan Times.
The chief minister criticised the GJM and blamed them for the unrest. "Five years you (GJM) enjoyed, now when elections are coming you start violence because you have lost credentials... What is happening is a deep-rooted conspiracy. These arms were not collected in a day, they were collected over time," she reportedly told the Deccan Chronicle.
She also blamed GJM for having alleged terrorist links, as the Hindustan Times report added. "There is a terrorist brain behind this hooliganism and vandalism. We have got clues that this has terrorist connections," she said.
Deccan Chronicle also said that protests in Darjeeling were initially meant to revolt against the forced imposition of Bengali in schools, but they soon turned into a demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland, and even students' unions are now supporting the cause.
Updated Date: Jun 18, 2017 11:38 AM