Ms. Banerjee on Saturday called the agitation a “deep-rooted conspiracy” supported by the insurgent groups of the Northeast and some foreign countries.
Jan Andolan Party (JAP) leader Harka Bahadur Chetri criticised the Mamata Banerjee government for trying to counter the movement by deploying security forces.
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Binay Tamang claimed that two of his party workers were killed when the police opened fire at a GJM procession here.
“All of us want to assert our own independent identity which is a good thing because we have been united despite being so diverse in our cultural backdrop”.
He asserted the struggle for a separate Gorkhaland state would be intensified and if the police tries to stop them, it would only create more trouble.
The hill districts of West Bengal were relatively calm on Sunday, a day after violent clashes between police and supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) left four people dead.
Banerjee said the state government is ready to initiate a dialogue with the party in a conducive environment.
Holding aloft the tricolour, GJM youth members led the rally from Chawk Bazar, the famous lower market area on the Hill cart Road in Darjeeling, passionately shouting pro-Gorkhaland slogans.
On a day otherwise ideal for a gentle stroll, Singamari, the ground zero of protests, witnessed intense clashes spanning over three hours as several police vehicles were torched and the area that is usually teeming with tourists turned into a virtual battleground. “In a democracy like India resorting to violence would never help in finding a solution”, the minister said. Many police personnel are seriously injured. We will continue with this agitation.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh called up Banerjee to discuss the situation in Kashmir. “The state government can talk to any government agency, but the government cannot bear hooliganism”, she said.
The GJM has announced an indefinite general strike from Monday against the government’s purported move to make study of Bengali language compulsory in state-run schools and to press for a separate state of Gorkhaland. “We are Indians and we hope that the Centre will take action to resolve the crisis in the hills”, Alley said.
Except for medicine stores, all others shops and hotels remained closed in Darjeeling.
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.
On June 13, movement for a separate Gorkhaland gained momentum after six other hill parties including TMC’s ally GNLF extend their support and unanimously passed a resolution demanding a separate state. “On Saturday, a policeman was injured in the forehead just below his helmet, probably due to a well-aimed missile from a catapult”, an officer said.At Singmari on Saturday, the demonstrators resorted to stone pelting from a height and used the bends and rocks to their advantage before the policemen chose to fire tear gas shells.