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Fresh clashes in Darjeeling between police & GJM protesters

Blaming intelligence failure for the trouble that sparked off on 8 June, when the state cabinet had met in Darjeeling, Banerjee, without naming the GJM, alleged that there was a conspiracy to attack her ministerial colleagues.Mamata Banerjee said her government was ready to talk to the protesters but could not support the “violation of the constitution”.Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Binay Tamang claimed two of his party workers were killed in police firing.However, with the GJM-sponsored indefinite shutdown, the stream of tourists has come down to a trickle.The GJM announced an indefinite strike from Monday encompassing Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts and the Dooars protesting against Mamata’s decision to make Bengali language compulsory in state-run schools.Meanwhile, lashing out at the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s led demonstration, WB Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said “Five years you enjoyed, now when elections are coming you start violence because you have lost credibility”, while denying all deaths in the clashes and said Tamang was critical.On GJM supporters setting fire to several government offices and damaging water supply lines, the chief minister expressed concern over keeping up the supply of provisions to the hills.She claimed the GJM has connections with insurgent groups in the Northeast and some foreign countries.According to sources, the West Bengal state government has blocked mobile internet in the hills in a bid to prevent people from mass gathering.However, Amar Rai said his son has no political affiliations and he was released later.Even after several days of clashes, Darjeeling is still on the edge, as thousands of protesters assembled at the central Chowkbazar carrying the body of a GJM activist, who was killed during clashes with police and raised slogans demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.At least four vehicles including three of police were torched while eight vehicles were vandalised.Singmari area in Darjeeling turned into a battleground as GJM activists threw petrol bombs and stones at the anti-riot police personnel, who fired teargas shells and baton-charged to disperse the mob.The Chief Minister told the media quoting ADG Law and Order Anuj Sharma that police had not opened fire. GJM supporters are creating violence and attacking police. As per the report, the commandant belonged to the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB), and he had his throat slit when he attempted to prevent protesters from setting police vehicles on fire in front of the police outpost in Singmari. “But we have to prepare ourselves”, he said. Two of our supporters have died because of the state government. The outfit was first named Gorkhaland Police, but after opposition from various quarters it was renamed Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP).The ongoing agitation has crippled tourism in the hills.One of the most popular attractions, the toy-train service of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, was also suspended in view of the strike for the safety of passengers and staff.