ILAM, July 8: Three more people supporting the Gorkhaland movement were killed in police firing in India"s West Bengal State on Friday and Saturday. Security personnel fatally shot the supporters of Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) during their rally demanding a separate state of "Gorkhaland" for the Nepali-speaking communities.
Security personnel shot Tashi Bhotiya of Sonada, Darjeeling, dead on Friday night. Some youths supporting the Gorkhaland movement, including Tashi, were visiting a local pharmacy at around 11 on Friday night when they clashed with the police. “Police opened fire suddenly and killed Tashi on the spot,” said Niraj Jimba.
The incident enraged the locals, who hit the streets to protest against the incident. “Protestors laid Tashi"s body in front and chanted slogans against the police. But the Central Police Reserve Force again opened fire against innocent youths,” he elaborated on another incident that followed.
During the protests, police again opened fire, killing Suraj Sundas of Tungsung and Sameer Gurung of Ropeway, according to GJM. Both the deceased had sustained bullet injuries in their neck and head, killing them on the spot.
Protestors are also said to have attacked the security personnel with khukuri. Further details of the incident have not come yet, local media have reported. Tensions escalated in Darjeeling following those incidents. Protestors have burnt down government buildings and vehicles. Army personnel were deployed on the streets at around 4 pm on Saturday.
The Gorkhaland movement resumed in Darjeeling after the West Bengal government made Bengali language as the state"s compulsory language in schools, even in Darjeeling and surrounding regions where Nepali language speakers are dominant. The infuriated Nepali-speakers, who form a majority of population in the state"s hilly regions, have since been protesting against the decision. Gorkhaland supports said they cannot relate to language and cultures of plain regions of Bengali, justifying their demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
Earlier on June 17, security personnel had killed three supporters of Gorkhaland. The incident had ignited massive conflicts in the region.