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India: Clashes amid general strike in Darjeeling June 15 /update 1

Clashes break out during fourth day of indefinite general strike in Darjeeling (West Bengal) June 15; opposition leader’s house ransacked by police

TIMEFRAME expected from 12/6/2017, 12h00 until 15/6/2017, 11h59 (Asia/Calcutta). COUNTRY/REGION Darjeeling (West Bengal)

Event

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) party offices in Darjeeling were raided by police on Thursday, June 15, amid a general strike ongoing in West Bengal state since June 12. The raid could be an indication that Mamata Banergee, Chief Minister of West Bengal state, has ordered the repression of protests in the state.

Furthermore, GJM supporters opened fire on the police after officers entered and ransacked the home of GJM chief Bimal Gurang on the same day.

Further protests and violence are likely in the coming days.

Context

Tea garden workers, who represent an integral part of West Bengal’s economy, are taking part in the strike, which could result in significant financial losses.

Clashes between GJM supporters and security forces also broke out in Darjeeling on June 12, the first day of the indefinite general strike (bandh), and demonstrators set fire to a government office in Bijanbari. Three people were arrested on public disturbance charges.

The GJM  has called for the creation of a new state, Gorkhaland. The GJM also opposes the domination of the Bengali language in schools across West Bengal.

Advice

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

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