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The Communist Party of India today blamed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the "violent" agitation for a separate Gorkhaland state, saying her "unnecessary promise" earlier was the cause for the fresh round of protests.
"Unneccessarily, Mamata Banerjee has given them some sort of hope on statehood earlier. That's the reason it (the agitation) has again come up," CPI General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy told PTI.
"Real issue is: unnecessarily, promise given by her (on statehood)...And I think that created this kind of problem," he said. "Otherwise, during the Left Front government (in the past in West Bengal), this (agitation for separate Gorkhaland State) was not violent, except for one time."
He said the Left parties were opposed to the statehood demand from the very beginning.
Reddy said there can be negotiation with the agitators "even for (according) some more rights, self-governing acts, but not for a separate state. There can be a dialogue after some time when things cool down," he said.
Reports from Darjeeling in West Bengal said protesters and riot police hurled stones at each other and a car was set ablaze after a series of raids today on premises connected with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung, whose separatist campaign is spiralling deeper into violence.
The demand by the GJM for a separate Gorkhaland state to be carved out of the Darjeeling hills of West Bengal is fast turning into a major political crisis for Mamata Banerjee, and is likely to cripple the critical tourist industry during the peak summer season.
Earlier today, police recovered more than 300 weapons, including arrows and explosives in raids on premises connected with Gurung, sparking a call by the separatist group for an indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling hills.