Mamata leaves for The Netherlands even as Darjeeling stir continues

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which is in power in the semi-autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, is spearheading the agitation there demanding a separate state - Gorkhaland.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the second time in two days yesterday and appealed to the protesters not to resort to violence and come forward for a dialogue to resolve any issue.

The police said that a library, two panchayat offices and a police vehicle were set on fire in Kalimpong in the afternoon as the indefinite shutdown call given by the GJM to press for a separate state had entered its seventh day. Shouts of "Police go back" and "Gorkhaland-Gorkhaland" reverberated through the picturesque hills as some Gorkha activists claimed that the protest has shifted from the political to the commoners' movement in the hills.

Thirty-six policemen were injured on Saturday in clashes with the GJM supporters. The last rites of the three protesters, who died on Saturday, were performed on Sunday after a procession was carried out by the GJM members on the streets of Darjeeling.

Darjeeling has been largely calm since yesterday, barring stray incidents of attempted violence. According to police sources, the step was taken to stop the GJM activists from using social media to spread "messages and provocative posts". The GJM's 12-hour strike in Dooars - foothills covering parts of Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts - received lukewarm response. While five arrests have been made, a dozen others were questioned on Saturday night.By Sunday morning, the police and paramilitary personnel had completed another important exercise.

The protestors are also asking for a separate Gorkhaland, a long pending demand of the people of the hills. First of all, security forces should immediately be withdrawn and normalcy should return.

"Since the violence is not coming to an end in Darjeeling, the Gorkhas are having an alliance with the BJP". Asserting that the GJM did not want to be "pawns" in Centre-state politics and that his party would not talk to Mamata Banerjee, Rai reminded the Central government that the GJM was an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and that it had contributed two MPs to the National Democratic Alliance.

"We are not happy, we are disappointed with the Centre". He said all parties concerned should resolve their differences amicably.

"In a democracy like India resorting to violence would never help in finding a solution".

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