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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday condemned the vandalism by the Gorkha Janmukti Morch (GJM) and alleged "deep-rooted conspiracy" as violence took centre-stage in the northern West Bengal hills amid the GJM-sponsored indefinite shutdown.
"This is a deep-rooted conspiracy. So much of arms and ammunition couldn't have come in a single day. There is an international border and state border. They are violating the Constitution.
They are only throwing bombs. They are stockpiling illegal arms and bombs," she said. An assistant commandant of the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) was killed when Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activists clashed with security forces. The IRB second battalion Assistant Commandant Kiran Tamang was critically injured after being hit by a 'khukri' (sharp-edged weapon) during the clash, IRB sources said.
Banerjee alleged the GJM had connections with the northeast insurgency groups.
"I am told there is a connection with the underground insurgency from northeast India. I have requested that they should not extend any support in Darjeeling," she said.Singmari area in Darjeeling turned into a battleground today as GJM activists threw petrol bombs and stones at riot police, who in retaliation fired teargas shells and resorted to baton charge. The incident, in which several people were injured, prompted the administration to deploy army troops in the area. As the indefinite shutdown to demand a separate state entered its third day, Gorkha Janamukti Morcha activists took out a protest rally from the GJM headquarters in Singmari. As prohibitory orders were in force in the area, the police told the protesters, who were carrying the tricolour and GJM flags, to return. The slogan-shouting protesters did not relent and started throwing stones and bottles at the police. A vehicle was also set on fire. The police fired teargas shells and baton-charged the agitators. Some police personnel and GJM activists were injured in the clash, the police said. A large contingent of police and paramilitary personnel was rushed to the spot under the command of the superintendent of police and other senior IPS officers. Barring pharmacies, all others shops and hotels were closed in Darjeeling.