Mamata Banerjee Calls For Peace In Darjeeling As She Heads Abroad

The shutdown in Darjeeling enters the eighth day today. The funeral of the three people killed in Saturday's violence will take place today.

Mamata Banerjee called for peace in Darjeeling as she left for the The Hague.

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called for peace in Darjeeling -- where an indefinite strike called by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha in demand of a separate state entered the eighth day -- as she left for The Hague where she will attend a UN meet.

"We appeal to everybody to maintain harmony," said Ms Banerjee, who would be in the Netherlands on a three-day visit.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh has spoken to the Chief Minster twice over the week-end for an update on the situation in Darjeeling.

Regarding the situation in Darjeeling, the Chief Minister said, "Duties have been evenly distributed to everybody. There is no need for anyone to worry".

The funeral of the three people killed in Saturday's violence will take place today. Yesterday, the Gorkha protesters held a silent march was held to the centre of the popular hill town, carrying the bodies. The march had been called by Bimal Gurung, chief of the Gorkha Janmukti Morch, which is spearheading the protests.

The Morcha claims the men were party activists who had died in Saturday's police firing - a claim the police have denied.

Darjeeling has been largely calm since yesterday, barring stray incidents of attempted violence. The internet services were blocked in Darjeeling since yesterday morning. Police sources said the step was taken to stop GJM activists from using social media to spread "messages and provocative posts".

The parties in the region will meet tomorrow to chalk out the future course of action.

The protests by the GJM and the subsequent political crisis started after the West Bengal government announced that Bengali language will be made compulsory in schools.

Darjeeling witnessed widespread clashes between the protesters and the police on Saturday, in which, the police said, one person was killed and 35 security personnel were injured. This was the first time protests ended in bloodshed in years in the hills of Bengal. Ms Banerjee has called the protests a "deep-rooted conspiracy".