Police personnel and Gorkhaland activists were injured in clashes in the Chowkbazar area in Darjeeling on Friday, the 86th day of an indefinite shutdown in the hill town, PTI reported. The clashes broke out after Gorkha Janamukti Morcha activists, participating in a rally demanding a separate Gorkhaland, allegedly pelted stones at the police personnel deployed, officials said.

On Friday, the police also found bomb-making materials at a location in the Patlebas area, a stronghold of Gorkha Janamukti Morcha supremo Bimal Gurung. “Based on a tip off, we raided it and found it was used to make bombs and improvised explosive devices,” a senior police official said. “We have sealed the place and seized the materials.”

“We suspect there are a few modules of the GJM who are behind the several blasts that took place in the hills in the past month.”

Shutdown continues

The shutdown in the hills has been on since June 15, after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced her decision to make Bengali compulsory in state-run schools. Although she had said Hill districts would be exempted from the rule, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha began an agitation that soon turned into a revival of the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.