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India: Violent clashes during general strike in Darjeeling June 12

General strike demonstrations turn violent in Darjeeling on June 12; government bans large gatherings

TIMEFRAME expected from 6/12/2017, 12:00 AM until 6/14/2017, 11:59 PM (Asia/Calcutta). COUNTRY/REGION Darjeeling (West Bengal)

Event

Supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) were reportedly involved in clashes with security forces in Darjeeling on Monday, June 12, amid calls for an indefinite general strike (bandh). According to reports, demonstrators set fire to a government office in Bijanbari. Three people have been arrested on public disturbance charges.​

The West Bengal state government has imposed increased security measures under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which bans assemblies of more than four people near government offices. Paramilitary forces have also been deployed.

GJM chief, Bimal Gurang, has stated that GJM supporters will not allow state government offices to function, and further demonstrations are likely.  The possibility of violence cannot be ruled out.

Context

The GJM  has called for the creation of a separate Gorkhaland state, and has threatened an indefinite strike if their demands are not met by the Indian government. The GJM has also opposed the alleged imposition of Bengali language in schools across West Bengal.

Previous bandh associated demonstrations have turned violent, and on Friday, June 9, the GJM held a 12-hour demonstration in the Darjeeling hills , which saw GJM supporters clash with police.

Advice

Individuals in Darjeeling are advised to monitor the situation, stay away from all demonstrations, and adhere to all instructions issued by authorities.

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