Army was deployed in Darjeeling on Thursday following violent clashes between Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) workers and police, news agency ANI reported. The GJM workers were protesting against the government’s proposal to make Bengali language compulsory in government schools.
The GJM supporters clashed with police which used baton charge and fired tear gas shells to disperse the agitators who tried to march to the venue of the state cabinet meeting. GJM supporters tried to break the barricades put up by the police and hurled brickbats. They also damaged some police vehicles, police sources said, adding that some security personnel received injuries.
ANI reported that two Army columns have been deployed in the town at the request of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to maintain law and order situation. The Chief Minister took the decision to seek Centre’s help in an emergency meeting held at Rajbhawan in which 30 ministers and delegates, including Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee, participated. The meeting was convened following the violent protests across Darjeeling earlier in the day after Mamata announced that Bengali would be compulsorily taught to students up to class 10 in schools.
The GJM has been demanding Nepali as a language instead of Bengali or can accept Hindi, but is strictly against the making of Bengali mandatory in all schools across the state.