“The final battle is on. Either we get our right or die fighting for it” Bimal Gurung
“I am ready to sacrifice my life, but I will not allow Bengal to be divided.” Mamata Banerjee
DARJEELING, 18th June 2017: A show down between the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters and the Police took place when the police tried to cordon off a GJM rally originating from the town from reaching the Singamari and Patleybas office. While the rally from the town was stopped by the police near Darjeeling Bus Stand, there was stone pelting at Singamari. According to police officials, the police contingent was soon pinned down by the Morcha cadres who attacked from all sides pelting stones and molotov cocktail bombs. However, while the attack on the police was seemingly an unplanned outburst, the police retaliated using deadly force at times opening fire without warning or aiming at bystanders.
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leadership has claimed that three of its cadres died. Sunil Rai, Bimal Shashanker and Mahesh Gurung all from Goke, Tukvar, Bijanbari area were killed. Several others were injured. There are numerous cases of the people their finger shot off or their foot being shot.
West Bengal ADG (law and order) Anuj Sharma as quoted in the PTI said in Kolkata that one person was killed at Singmari and around 35 policemen were injured, 19 of them seriously. This was the first death since violent protests returned to Darjeeling on June 8, after a gap of a few years.
GJM Chief Bimal Gurung in a whatsupp message from an ‘undisclosed location’ said, “Two of our comrades were killed in police firing. They are martyrs of the Gorkhaland movement. The people of the hills will not stop until and unless Gorkhaland is achieved,” GJM chief Bimal Gurung said in a statement from an undisclosed location..
“The final battle is on. Either we get our right or die fighting for it,” he said. Gurung’s
Gurung’s statement was rubbished by ADG Sharma, “The police did not open fire. Not a single bullet was fired, It was the GJM who were firing at us,” he said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in Kolkata that India Rerserve Battalion’s Assistant Commandant Kiran Tamang was critically injured in the violence.
Tamang, who belongs to IRS’s 2nd Battalion, has been shifted to a private nursing home in Siliguri, the police said. Earlier, IRB sources said Tamang was killed in the clash.
“What is happening today is a deep-rooted conspiracy. So many bombs and arms cannot be gathered in a day,” Banerjee told reporters, adding, “I am ready to sacrifice my life, but I will not allow Bengal to be divided.”
She said that the GJM has connections with insurgent groups in the Northeast and some foreign countries. She, however, did not name any insurgent group or foreign country.
“There is a terrorist brain behind this hooliganism. We have got clues that they have connections with underground insurgent groups in the Northeast. There are some other countries also helping,” Banerjee has been quoted as saying by the PTI
The police said seven GJM supporters were arrested for their alleged involvement in the violence.
Giving details of the Singmari incident, a senior police officer said prohibitory orders were in force in the area and 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 petrol bombs, stones and bottles at the police, he said. A number of police vehicles were set on fire, he said.
“We asked them to go back, but they started throwing stones, bottles and petrol bombs. We had to resort to lathi- charge,” the official said.
ADG Sharma told PTI, “We are waiting for the postmortem report, but it seems that the man died of gunshot wound.
“We are trying to identify the person, but going by the preliminary investigation it seems that he is a local,” he said.
“Law will take its own course. We will arrest anybody found violating law and order in the hills. The police will be tough.” he said.
Barring pharmacies, all others shops and hotels were closed in Darjeeling, one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the country.