Darjeeling Stares At More Unrest After Bloody Saturday: 10 Points

Darjeeling in West Bengal has been rocked by violent clashes over the demand for a separate state led by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).

Clashes in West Bengal's hill district Darjeeling erupted last week after protests by Gorkha groups.

Highlights

  • Day 11 of Darjeeling unrest over demand for statehood by Gorkha groups
  • At least one person dead, several injured in widespread rioting, arson
  • Gorkha Janmukti Morcha says 3 supporters killed, calls for huge protest
Darjeeling: On the edge for the last 10 days over the demand for a separate state by Gorkha ethnic groups, Darjeeling descended deeper into turmoil on Saturday with widespread clashes between protesters and the police in which at least one person was killed and 35 security personnel were injured. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), the party spearheading the protests, has called for massive demonstrations on Sunday, claiming that three of its supporters were killed in police firing. Authorities however have not confirmed the deaths.

Here are the top 10 points on the crisis in Darjeeling:

  1. A man was killed at Singamari and around 35 policemen were injured, 19 of them seriously. This was the first death since violent protests returned to Darjeeling on June 8 after years. The GJM, however, claimed that three party supporters were killed in police firing.

  2. In a statement from an undisclosed location, GJM chief Bimal Gurung called on supporters to gather at the Chowk Bazaar in the heart of Darjeeling at 10 am on Sunday wearing black badges to protest the deaths. However, with authorities restricting gatherings of four or more people, the call could lead to a fresh confrontation.

  3. An Assistant Commandant of the India Reserve Battalion (IRB) armed police, Kiran Tamang, was critically injured in the violence, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said. Earlier authorities had said Mr Tamang had died after being stabbed.

  4. Ms Banerjee spoke to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh over the situation in the tea-producing district. She briefed Mr Singh about the steps being taken by the state government to restore peace, officials said.

  5. "What is happening today is a deep-rooted conspiracy. So many bombs and arms cannot be gathered in a day," Ms Banerjee said. "I am ready to sacrifice my life, but I will not allow Bengal to be divided," she said.

  6. The GJM meanwhile ruled out any discussion with the West Bengal government but said it is "comfortable" holding talks with the BJP-led government at the centre.

  7. Police said GJM activists threw petrol bombs, stones and bottles at policemen at several places which led the security forces to fire teargas shells and use batons to disperse the mobs.

  8. The flames of the unrest that have battered the holiday province at the height of the tourist season, also risked spreading to the neighbouring Kalimpong district where two cars were set ablaze.

  9. Around 250 Army soldiers were called in to control the situation and staged flag marches in several areas of the violence-hit hill district, including Darjeeling and Kurseong.

  10. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has long campaigned for a separate state for Nepali-speaking Gorkhas in Darjeeling. The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress' win in the civic polls last month, the making of Bengali a compulsory language in schools and a cabinet meeting of the state government last week for first time in 45 years could have acted as triggers for the violent clashes.