Violence escalates in Darjeeling; GJM claims 3 dead

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Binay Tamang claimed two of his party workers were killed in police firing. Also, GJM chief Bimal Gurung on Sunday termed as "white lies" Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's claim that the agitation in Darjeeling hills was supported by insurgent groups, and asserted the struggle for a separate Gorkhaland state would be intensified.

Defending the seizures, GJM leader Binay Tamang said, "The hill people are predominantly tribals and all these tools are found in nearly every household. Let's see how far we can go", a young woman protester said while talking to a television channel.

"Police did not open fire". West Bengal ADG (law and order) Anuj Sharma said in Kolkata that one person was killed at Singmari and around 35 policemen were injured, 19 of them seriously.

Meanwhile, the police have allegedly arrested the son of a GJM lawmaker on Saturday in connection with his role in protests on June 8, the day West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was attending a cabinet meeting.

Army contingents were deployed to control the situation and they staged flag marches in several areas of the violence-hit hill district, where the indefinite shutdown to press for a separate Gorkhaland entered the third day.

The indefinite bandh was called after the police raided the premises linked to GJM chief Bimal Gurung on Thursday. "Reporters are being kidnapped, kept hostage and while in hostage being told (by the morcha) that only what they (the morcha) say should be aired", Leading daily The Indian Express quoted West Bengal CM as saying.

The home ministry is closely monitoring the situation in the hill district and assisting the state government to restore normalcy there. The police illegally barred them and then charged baton on them, tear gas and bullets were also used.

Home to iconic bakeries and cafes such as Keventer's and Glenary's serving an English breakfast, the sleepy Darjeeling springs to life in the summer season as tourists from across the globe troop in to watch the sunset at Tiger Hill or gaze at the mighty Kanchenjunga peak.

S.S. Ahluwalia, BJP MP from Darjeeling, who was also a part of the delegation that met Rajnath Singh in Delhi, also condemned the actions of the Mamata Banerjee government in the hills.

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".

Curiously her Cabinet colleague and Siliguri MLA Gautam Deb, who is also in charge of Darjeeling affairs, earlier blamed BJP for "creating mischief in Darjeeling".

A top police official, however, said that a GJM supporter died because of firing by GJM supporters, who started firing at the police and set a police vehicle on fire.

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