The unrest in Darjeeling continued with internet services remaining suspended for the second day, PTI reported. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged all stakeholders to attend the all-party meeting scheduled for June 22 in Siliguri. The meeting has been scheduled to discuss the current situation in the region. No incidents of violence were reported on Monday, police said.
“Violence cannot be a solution to any problem and only talks can solve it,” Banerjee said about the recent hostilities in the state.
Police officials said the internet suspension was imposed to prevent Gorkha Janmukti Morcha members from spreading “provocative posts”. Protesters shouted anti-state government slogans and carried black flags during their protest in Chowkbazaar. Some agitators burnt effigies of Banerjee while repeating their demand for Gorkhaland. Several smaller demonstrations were staged in various parts of Darjeeling, PTI reported.
GJM said it was disappointed with the Centre and BJP MP S S Ahluwalia’s absence during this crucial period. “The role of alliance partner BJP is very unfortunate and very disappointing. We had expected something positive from the part of the Central government. We feel we are being used as pawns by the Centre and the state,” Darjeeling MLA and GJM leader Amar Singh Rai said.
On June 18, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had demanded that security forces be withdrawn from the Darjeeling hills and that the Narendra Modi government hold tripartite talks to ensure normalcy in the region, reported The Indian Express. The GJM had earlier claimed that three of its members were killed in police firing on June 17, which was vehemently denied by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Violence broke out in Darjeeling after Banerjee announced her decision to make Bengali compulsory in state-run schools. Though she had said that hill districts will be exempted from the rule, the GJM began an agitation that soon turned into a revival of the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.