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Army redeployed after fresh violence in Darjeeling; BJP demands Prez rule

GJM and other hill parties have lodged a police complaint accusing the police of killing the youth

Press Trust of India  |  Darjeeling (WB) 

Security forces marching on the streets of Darjeeling. File photo
Security forces marching on the streets of Darjeeling. File photo

The was redeployed on Saturday after fresh violence erupted in hills where supporters torched a police outpost, a toytrain station and clashed with the police at two places. The (GJM), spearheading the agitation for a separate state carved out of West Bengal, claimed that two youths were killed in police firing. The police, however, said they did not have any report of firing. The police burst teargas shells and baton-charged activists of the and the Liberation Front (GNLF) who attacked the security personnel at Sonada and Chawkbazar in the hills. Two columns of the comprising around 100 personnel were deployed at Sonada and in the wake of fresh violence, defence sources said. Chief Minister appealed for peace and said that the government was ready for talks with the hill parties, but peace has to be restored first. "The government has shown enough restraint in the interest of the people of the hills," she said. The chief minister accused the Centre of "deliberate and total non-cooperation" and alleged that it's refusal to send CRPF personnel, as demanded by the state government, had led to the current situation in the hills where the indefinite shutdown entered its 24th day on Saturday. In New Delhi, Union home ministry sources said 11 companies of paramilitary force personnnel were sent to by the Centre, including one company consisting of women. The government has its own security forces like the Eastern Frontier Rifles and the State Armed Police and both have several battalions, they said, adding that it was not deploying these forces and instead blaming the central government. spokesperson Neeraj Zimba claimed that a youth Tashi Bhutia was shot dead by the security forces last night when he had ventured out to purchase medicines at Sonada. But a police officer said, "We don't have any report of police firing as of now. We are looking into the incident. We can give you details later." Inspector General of Police (IGP) Javed Shamim, when asked about the firing said, "It will be known only after the inquiry." The and other hill parties have lodged a police complaint accusing the force of killing the youth. "The youth was killed by the police without any reason. His body has bullet injuries.

We demand that the policemen involved be punished," leader Binay Tamang said. As news of the death spread, hundreds of supporters came out on the streets and raised slogans against alleged "police atrocities". They clashed with the police and set on fire a police outpost at Sonada and the toytrain station of the Darjeeling- Himalayan Railways, a World Heritage site. sources claimed that another youth identified as Suraj Sundas was killed in police firing during clashes between the police and the protestors at Chowkbazar area here during the day. The police denied the charge. The sources claimed that Suraj was caught in the midst of the clashes and was killed when the police fired on the protesters. The Centre had said on Saturday that it was keen to hold tripartite talks with the and the government to end the agitation. On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday met Governor K N Tripathi and demanded that the Centre should immediately impose President’s rule as the law and order situation in the state has “completely broken down”. “Today we met the governor and informed him about the grim situation in the state. The state government in collaboration with anti-elements is directly responsible for the complete breakdown of the law and order situation. We have requested the governor to talk to the central government and send the recommendation for imposition of President’s rule in the state,” state president Dilip Ghosh told reporters after the meeting. With food supply severely hit due to the indefinite strike, the and various NGOs distributed food amongst the people. Barring medicine outlets, all shops, schools, colleges remained closed. Internet services remained suspended for the 21st day. The police and the security forces patrolled the streets and kept a vigil on the entry and exit routes.

First Published: Sat, July 08 2017. 21:29 IST