The Darjeeling Police on Thursday filed a case of murder against 24 Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders, including party chief Bimal Gurung and his wife Asha Gurung, for the death of a GJM supporter on Saturday, DNA reported. The GJM member had died during clashed between the police and the group’s GJM workers, who have been protesting and demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.

The case was registered on the West Bengal government’s orders after 13 of the 15 local development board representatives of the Gorkhaland Territorial Authority did not show up for the peace talks the administration demanded, according to The Times of India. State Home Secretary Malay De, who headed the meeting in Siliguri, said government is “open for talks to restore normalcy in the hills”.

The unrest in the tourist town continued as the indefinite strike called by the GJM entered its eighth day on Thursday. Normal life in Darjeeling has come to a standstill, with depleting food stock, suspended internet services, non-payment of daily wages and schools closed.

GJM calls for case against the police

In response to the case of murder filed against its leaders, the Gorkha body said cases should be lodged against the police and the state administration, instead, “for violating human rights and the killing of people”, a senior GJM leader told PTI.

Besides the murder charge, the GJM leaders have also been booked for arson, assault on police officers and conspiracy to incite violence.