One dead, 35 injured in India's Darjeeling clashes

Police personnel stop Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters following a raid at the GJM office in Darjeeling

The GJM has claimed that three of their supporters were shot dead by police in the Hills yesterday.

As prohibitory orders were in force in the area, the police told the protesters, who were carrying the tricolour and GJM flags, to return. However, the GJM has condemned all sorts of violence in the region and said that miscreants, rather than GJM volunteers, were involved in the violence.

As part of the first part of the strategy, office bearers of the development boards will be asked to persuade their followers to break away from the ongoing GJM-led agitation for a separate Gorkhaland state. Some of the reporters said that locals had, in fact, offered them shelter when they were caught in the crossfire. "Every issue can be resolved through mutual dialogue".

GJM chief Bimal Gurung has termed as "white lies" Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's claim that the agitation in Darjeeling hills was supported by insurgent groups, and asserted the struggle for a separate Gorkhaland state would be intensified.

Refusing to get intimidated by the protesters, CM Banerjee on Monday said that she will not "bow down to threats". Police rejected the allegations of firing by its personnel, and said one person was killed during the clashes.

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. "The police did not open fire".

BJP state women's wing president Roopa Ganguly also raised her pitch against the Trinamool government saying the unrest in the hills was due to Banerjee.

Police said GJM supporters threw stones, bottles at government forces, who responded by using teargas and resorting to baton charging.

Cops realised around 11.15 am that they were heavily outnumbered and fled even as GJM supporters torched parked police vehicles. They shouted slogans in support of Gorkhaland and demanded that the police and security personnel be "removed immediately" from Darjeeling.

According to the newspaper, home ministry officials said off the record that there were probably political reasons behind the Centre's change of heart. It was the GJM which was firing at us.

Except for medicine stores, all others shops and hotels remained closed in Darjeeling.

A senior bureaucrat said that since the hills are dependent on the plains for ration and other essential commodities, it will not be possible for the GJM to continue with their strike for an indefinite period.

GJM, Alley said, wants to raise a 8000-strong force in Darjeeling hills which will be well prepared to tackle "any kind of situation". Rai was granted bail after he was picked from his residence today.

However, GLP took a back seat and most of its trained youths were absorbed into GJM youth wing instead following the formation of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration in 2011.

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