Gorkhaland supporter killed in ‘police firing’, Darjeeling shutdown enters 34th day

A Gorkhaland supporter was allegedly shot dead by police in Darjeeling district’s Mirik town on Monday night.

cities Updated: Jul 18, 2017 10:33 IST
Pramod Giri
Pramod Giri
Hindustan Times, Darjeeling
Gorkhaland,Darjeeling,Mamata Banerjee
Gorkha protesters hold a banner during a rally in Gurgaon in support of a separate Gorkhaland state in Darjeeling.(Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)

A Gorkhaland supporter was allegedy shot dead by police during a demonstration in Darjeeling’s Mirik town, statehood activists said on Tuesday, the 8th death in a violent unrest in West Bengal’s hill districts.

Asish Tamang, 38, was killed on Monday night when police allegedly opened fire on a group of Gorkhaland supporters in the popular tourist town, about 50 km from Darjeeling.

Police refused to comment on the issue.

The Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee, spearheading the statehood movement, is scheduled to meet at Kalimpong on Tuesday, and Tamang’s death could trigger fresh tension in the hills.

The committee is an umbrella body of several organisations which are demanding creation of a Gorkhaland state, to be carved out of the hills and parts of Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar districts in north Bengal.

An indefinite shutdown of the hills entered the 34th day on Tuesday with no signs of an early settlement to the issue.

The state government led by chief minister Mamata Banerjee has ruled out bifurcation of the state and has blamed “outside forces”, including militant groups of the northeast and Maoist rebels from Nepal, of backing the Gorkhaland movement.

Yogesh Goley, a senior member of the Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha, said Tamang was killed around 10.30 pm.

Activists said police fired on them when they gheraoed the Mirik police station demanding release of a Gorkhaland supporter who was detained following a clash between agitators and Trinamool supporters.

Police, however, deny opening fire in any of the incidents which have allagedy killed eight people.

Darjeeling, known as the Queen of the Hills for its picturesque tourist spots, and other hill areas of the state are on the boil since the first week of June when the GJM launched an agitation over alleged attempts to impose Bengali in schools of the Gorkha-dominated hills.

The GJM later revived the 110-year old statehood demand but has refused to hold talks with the Mamata-led government.

First Published: Jul 18, 2017 10:30 IST