One more column of the Army moved into the Darjeeling hills which remained tense, but incident-free today as Gorkhaland supporters took out rallies to press their demand for a separate state. An Army column, comprising around 50 personnel, was deployed in Kalimpong last night, defence sources said. Two columns of the Army had been positioned in Darjeeling and Sonada on Saturday after large-scale violence and arson took place there.
Supporters of various political parties in the hills, wearing their traditional dress, took out processions demanding ‘Gorkhaland’. No incident of violence has been reported since last night, officials here said.
Another rally was organised from the Darjeeling station to Singhmari area by the agitation spearheard Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) demanding withdrawal of the security forces from the hills and restoration of Internet services. Internet services were suspended in Darjeeling and other violence-hit areas on June 18.
The GJM has claimed that seven of its supporters have been killed in police firing, including four on Saturday. The police have, however, said two persons have died in the hills, including a truck driver whose vehicle was set ablaze, since the over month-long agitation turned violence on June 17.
The police have said not a “single shot” has been fired by them during the stir. The security forces maintained a close vigil at all police stations, camps and outposts and entry and exit routes to prevent attacks by pro-Gorkhaland supporters, the officials said.
With food supply severely hit due to the indefinite strike, which entered the 26th day, the GJM and various NGOs of the hills carried out distribution of food items. Barring medicine outlets, all shops, schools, colleges remained closed.