Darjeeling is bracing for another shutdown as the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leadership has decided to hold a protest rally with the bodies of two persons allegedly killed during yesterday’s clashes. The GJM has claimed that two of their supporters were shot dead by police in Singmari. The police rejected the allegations of firing by its personnel, and said one person was killed during the clashes. A senior GJM leader today said, “We will conduct the rally at Chowbazar with the bodies.” The police has declined them the permission to hold such a rally. A senior police official said, “No one has been given permission to hold a rally in the hills.” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had yesterday said that the ongoing agitation in Darjeeling hills was a “deep-rooted conspiracy” supported by the insurgent groups of the Northeast and some foreign countries. The GJM had rubbished the allegation made by Banerjee, saying that she was trying to malign the Gorkhas fighting for their identity.
The police, who have been on high alert after yesterday’s violence and arson, conducted route marches with the Army in several parts of the hills. Police pickets and barricades were placed in front of the government and GTA offices, and various entry-exit points of the hills. Several woman police personnel have also been deployed. Except for medicine stores, all others shops and hotels remained closed in Darjeeling.