June 19th, 2017
Four people allegedly died in police firing and a security official was critically injured on Saturday as the protest for a separate Gorkhaland in the hilly district of Darjeeling turned violent, reported Hindustan Times.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee denied that the four protesters were killed in police firing, however, did not give a reason for their death. She further blamed the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), the party at the forefront of the protests, of having terrorist links with outfits in northeast states and foreign countries.
GJM said that the four killed in Darjeeling’s Singamari were its supporters. The agitation on Saturday was the most violent since the protest started on June 8.
CM Banerjee on May 16 announced to make Bengali language compulsory in all schools from Class I to Class IX, including private English-medium schools, of the state.
Bengal respects all languages and languages of all States. Our three language formula shows how we really do…India…
As people of the proposed state of Gorkhaland in the Darjeeling hills officially speak Nepali, the state government’s decision was met with massive hostility. The people have been demanding a separate state – Gorkhaland – as they feel that the state government does not care for their needs.
On Sunday, over a hundred people gathered at Jantar Mantar, to strengthen the demand for a separate statehood.
The protesters waved the Indian national flag and held protest slogans ‘We want Gorkhaland’. Apart from locals, supporters and volunteers linked with different political groups and NGOs participated in the event, claimed the protesters. The protest began around 11 am and continued until 4 pm.
The talk for Gorkhaland was supposed to be held today, June 19, but was indefinitely postponed by the Home Ministry on the request of the West Bengal government. The scheduled talk would have been attended by the state government, the Union Home Ministry and representative of GJM.
As reported by Outlook India, CM Banerjee left for Netherlands to address a United Nations meet even as the indefinite strike by GJM has not ended, but has intensified in the past one week.
A protest similar to the one held in Jantar Mantar on Sunday might be organised next week, claim the protesters, if CM Banerjee does not take conclusive steps to meet their demands.