Darjeeling Bandh to Continue, BJP MP Calls for ‘High-Level Probe’
CM Mamata Banerjee urged stakeholders to attend an all-party meeting in Siliguri on 22 June.
Union Minister SS Ahluwalia on Tuesday called for a "high-level" probe into the alleged police firing in Darjeeling in which three people were killed, and demanded compensation from the state government for the victims' families.
The BJP MP from Darjeeling termed the firing on unarmed protesters as "unpardonable", and asked if all other steps to control the agitation were used before giving the firing orders.
The killing of unarmed protesters is unpardonable. There should be high-level probe into the incident. There should be action against the officials who are responsible for the deaths.
He accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of not taking cognisance of the incident and "not even expressing condolence" over the incident or help the family of the deceased.
Meanwhile, the indefinite bandh in the Darjeeling hills, which entered its sixth day, will continue until security forces are withdrawn, a GJM-sponsored all-party meeting decided on Tuesday.
GJM spokesperson T Arjun told reporters in Darjeeling after the all-party meeting,
The indefinite shutdown will continue as the onus is on the West Bengal government to restore normalcy in the hills. They have to withdraw security forces -- both the state, central and all repressive forces.
Several political parties in the hills, including Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), which was till recently an ally of the ruling Trinamool Congress, attended the meeting, besides some NGOs and apolitical organisations.
In a separate meeting, the Sikkim Democratic Front extended their support to the "democratic demand" for a separate Gorkhaland and expressed its opposition to the "illegal, undemocratic and unconstitutional" acts committed in Darjeeling.
Meanwhile, blaming the BJP and the TMC for the situation in the hills, CPI general secretary Sudhakar Reddy pressed the State and the Central governments to initiate talks to address the issue.
We do not support the demand for a separate state. It will be too small a place. Their issues were resolved by autonomous district councils... when the Left Front was in power.
GJM supporters held a protest march in Darjeeling on Monday and burnt effigies of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Carrying black flags, protesters, especially the youth, marched on the streets of Chowkbazar area shouting slogans against the state government and the chief minister.
Three of our activists were killed. We are ready to give our lives but will not stop protesting till we get Gorkhaland.Sirish Pradhan, GJM Worker
Several small processions were taken out by GJM activists in various parts of Darjeeling.
The protesters also blocked the national highway 31A at some places in Darjeeling district. The 92-km-long NH 31A connects Sevoke in Darjeeling district to Gangtok and is considered to be the lifeline of Sikkim.
Around 30 km of the highway passes through West Bengal.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged all concerned parties and stakeholders to attend an all-party meeting called by the state government in Siliguri on 22 June on the prevailing situation.
She urged the people to maintain peace and said:
Violence cannot be a solution to any problem and only talks can solve it.
Meanwhile, the West Bengal government has sent a report on the ongoing violence in Darjeeling to the Home Ministry, which has dispatched a company of 125 women security personnel to help restore peace in the hills. Ten companies – about 1,250 personnel – are stationed in the region marred by violence.
Police pickets and barricades were placed in front of the government and GTA offices and various entry exit points of the hills while Rapid Action Force (RAF) and a sizable number of women police personnel were also deployed.
Except medicine shops, all others shops and hotels remained closed.
Meanwhile, the Tibetan community of Darjeeling organised a candlelight march in the town’s Chowrasta square, demanding immediate restoration of peace in the hills.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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