Protesters shout slogans, demanding that police be "immediately removed"
Supporters of the separatist Gorkha Janmukti Morcha take part in a rally with a slain protester's body, in Darjeeling on Sunday. Pic/AFP
Darjeeling remained on the edge yesterday as thousands of protesters assembled at the central Chowkbazar carrying the body of a GJM activist, who was killed during clashes with the police, and raised slogans demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.
Security personnel in large numbers were deployed in the hill district of West Bengal after widespread clashes between Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activists and the police were witnessed on Saturday.
The protesters, also carrying black flags and the Tricolour, assembled at the Chowkbazar. They shouted slogans demanding that the police and security personnel be "immediately removed" from Darjeeling.
Policemen stand guard outside shuttered stores in Darjeeling on Sunday. Pic/AFP
"We think the police and security personnel should be immediately removed from Darjeeling to create a conducive environment for talks. The government should allow us to carry out peaceful and democratic agitation," Darjeeling MLA Amar Rai of the GJM said.
The GJM has claimed that two of its supporters were shot dead by the police in Singmari on Saturday. The police rejected the allegation of firing by its personnel, and said one person was killed during the clashes.
This was the first death since violent protests returned to Darjeeling on June 8, after a gap of a few years.
Don't resort to violence: HM to protesters
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday appealed to protesters not to resort to violence and, instead, hold dialogue to resolve any issue. "All concerned parties and stakeholders should resolve their differences and misunderstandings through dialogue in an amicable environment," Singh said. "I appeal to the people living in Darjeeling and nearby areas to remain calm and peaceful."
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