Darjeeling updates: MLA says GJM will only talk to Centre over Gorkhaland demand

Clashes in Darjeeling between police and GJM protesters turned violent on Saturday, reportedly killing a demonstrator and injuring 35 security personnel

india Updated: Jun 18, 2017 15:53 IST
Pramod Giri
Pramod Giri
Hindustan Times, Darjeeling
Darjeeling,Darjeeling news,GJM
Security personnel patrol a road during GJM strike in Darjeeling on Saturday.(PTI Photo)

Darjeeling shutdown continued on Sunday as Gorkha Janmukti Morcha called a protest rally to step up its demand for a separate state.

Clashes in Darjeeling between police and GJM protesters turned violent a day before as GJM protersters hurled petrol bombs, stones and bottles at the police. The security forces responded with teargas shells and resorted to baton-charge to disperse the mobs.

GJM claimed three of its supporters were killed in the clashes, while at least 35 security personnel have been injured.

Army contingents were deployed to control the situation and they staged flag marches in several areas of the violence-hit hill district, including Darjeeling and Kurseong.

Here are the Live updates: 

3:25pm: GJM protests remain peaceful till evening but security forces stay positioned to avert any possible untoward situations.

3:05pm: Rai rules out talks with state government. “We are agreed to talks only if the Centre participates in it and on the condition that Gorkhaland will be the one and only agenda in the meeting.”

3pm: GJM MLA Amar Singh Rai says in a press conference at the Darjeeling Press Guild: “We have become pawns in a game between the Centre and the state government. We are not at all satisfied with the role of the Centre.” He also refuted chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegations that the GJM had links with outlawed outfits based in the northeast of the country.

2:45pm: Darjeeling protest venue empty after GJM supporters leave with the body of Bimal Sa Shanker for his village but security forces, including army and paramilitary personnel, wait surrounding Chowkbazar area as the body of Mahesh Gurung, also killed in Saturday’s firing, is expected to arrive in the evening.

2pm: Silent rally with Bimal Sa Shanker’s body starts from Darjeeling town for his village. Security forces keep watch from a distance.

1:30pm: The body of Bimal Sa Shanker (28) -- GJM supporter who was allegedly killed in Saturday’s clashes --brought at Gorkha Dukha Niwarak Sammelan (GDNS) in Darjeeling town where thousands have queued up to pay last tribute.

1:10pm: Home minister Rajnath Singh says he spoke to Mamata Banerjee this morning. She has apprised me of the situation prevailing in Darjeeling, adding: “I appeal to the people living in Darjeeling and nearby areas to remain calm and peaceful. Nobody should resort to violence.”

1:05pm: Internet services unavailable through most parts of the Darjeeling hills since Sunday morning. While there is no official version yet, GJM supporters and local residents allege the government is behind breakdown of the internet services in its bid to disrupt GJM leadership’s fast coordination through WhatsApp.

1pm: GJM chief Bimal Gurung tells ANI the group will continue the movement, warning that “if the police try to stop us, we will create trouble”.

Gurung adds: “The West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said we have links with NE based terrorists group, it’s wrong, she is trying to divert our movement.”

12:45pm: Thousands of Gorkhaland supporters occupy the 1.5km stretch between Darjeeling railway station and old supermarket, where the bodies of the three supporters killed on Saturday are to arrive. The army, paramilitary and the police have taken position at some distance, keeping watch on the crowd from higher positions.

12:15pm: No vehicles plying on the roads and shops remain closed on the fourth day of the indefinite shutdown called by GJM. The 12-hour bandh called in adjoining Dooars region had partial impact.

12pm: TV channels say police will allow a silent protest march in Darjeeling. Earlier reports said the police had denied permission to hold a rally with the bodies of protesters allegedly killed in clashes with security forces.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Jun 18, 2017 13:00 IST