Left Front: Trinamool Congress tactics to blame for Darjeeling clashes

Darjeeling becomes a war zone after Mamta Banerjee's visit; Army mobilized

Clashes Erupt in Darjeeling Between Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and Police

Protests in the hill district of the Indian state, mostly dominated by Nepali-speaking people, broke out following an announcement by West Bengal State Education Minister Parta Chatterjee, two weeks ago, to incorporate Bangla language as a compulsory subject across the state.

Around 45,000 tourists are stranded in the northern West Bengal hills due to the violence. "This is a historic day", she said.

Reacting to this, the chief minister said: "They have the democratic right".

The GJM accused the TMC government of trying to disrupt peace in Darjeeling by its "divide and rule policy" and called a 12-hour shutdown in the hills tomorrow.

"As part of our ongoing administrative reforms and good governance initiatives and to give more boost to development works, we have chose to create West Bengal Higher Civil Service (Executive) from among the talented and meritorious officers of West Bengal Civil Service (Executive) to take up positions of higher responsibility in the government", Mamata said.

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) men burnt down 12 police vans and a state transport bus, forcing the government to call out the Army.

The GJM supporters were protesting among other issues alleged "imposition of Bengali language in the schools in the hills".

The police, who initially beat a hasty retreat, made repeated baton charge and lobbed tear gas shells at the mob to quell the violence that erupted near Bhanu Bhawan on the tourist hub Mall Road, that was virtually taken over by the GJM workers.

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"We condemn the state-sponsored violence".

Banerjee on Monday tried to cool passions by announcing that Bengali would not be compulsory in schools in the Darjeeling hills and in certain areas of the Dooars and the Terai.

The cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday in Darjeeling town was the first in 45 years.

Tourists are suffering as indefinite strike has been declared by the Gorkhas & the Clashes between Gorkhas Janmukti Morcha and Police have turned intense.

The GJM leadership asked tourists not to try to leave the hills during the bandh period. Many who had left for sightseeing in the early morning came down to the plains after hearing that the situation had got really tense in the Hills. He has also said that he would resign from the post of chief executive officer of the Gorkha Territorial Administration.

CPI (M) leader Surjya Kanta Mishra said "The Kashmir policy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Darjeeling policy of the chief minister are quite similar".

The chief minister announced a number of development projects in the Hills, including the setting up of a mini-secretariat named after legendary mountaineer Tenzing Norgay. The armed forces were called out following discussions between Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary, sources said.

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