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Arson in Kalimpong; GJM marches with bodies

GJM activists took out a protest march carrying the bodies of two party supporters

PTI  |  Darjeeling/New Delhi 

GJM activists, Darjeeling, protestors
People display placards while taking part in silent peace rally in Darjeeling on Sunday. Photo: PTI

A public library, two panchayat offices and a police vehicle were set ablaze at Kalimpong on Sunday, though Darjeeling, the epicentre of the GJM-led agitation for a separate Gorkhaland, remained incident-free. Kalimpong, part of district until recently, was made a separate district on February 14 this year.
(GJM) activists took out a protest march carrying the bodies of two party supporters who, they alleged, were killed in police firing on Saturday.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the second time in two days. He appealed to the protesters not to resort to violence and to come forward for a dialogue to resolve any issue.
Police said a library, two panchayat offices and a police vehicle were set on fire in Kalimpong in the afternoon as the indefinite shutdown call given by the GJM to press for a separate state had entered its fourth day.
The GJM, however, denied its involvement in the incidents and alleged that these were a “handiwork” of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) to “malign” it. The party has claimed three of its activist were killed on Saturday.
The protesters, carrying black flags and the tricolour, assembled at Chowkbazar. They shouted slogans in support of Gorkhaland and demanded that the police and security personnel be “removed immediately” from
Carrying bodies of the two supporters in a hearse with GJM flags and posters terming them as "martyrs of Gorkhaland", thousands of locals, including GJM activists, shouted slogans like "police, go back".
Despite the GJM's claim, Additional Director General of Police (law and order) Anuj Sharma had denied the allegation of police firing. He had, however, said one person had died on Saturday, but did not specify the cause.
Thirty-five security personnel, including an India Reserve Battalion officer, were injured during widespread clashes between GJM activists and police on Saturday.
There was massive deployment of police and paramilitary but they didn't stop the GJM from taking out the march with the bodies.
Internet services have been blocked in since
9 am on Sunday. According to police sources, the step was taken to stop GJM activists from using social media to spread “messages and provocative posts”.
The GJM gave a call for a 12-hour bandh, but this failed to evoke much response.
Rajnath Singh asked the people in the hills to remain calm and peaceful. "All parties concerned and stakeholders should resolve their differences and misunderstandings through dialogue in an amicable environment," he said.
In a democracy like India, resorting to violence would never lead to a solution, he said.
During his conversation with the chief minister, Singh discussed the situation prevailing in the hills. "She (Banerjee) has apprised me of the situation prevailing in Darjeeling," he said.