This morning, locals marched with the body, threw stones at the Sonada police station and police had to fire teargas to disperse crowds. Some locals claimed rubber bullets were also used
DARJEELING: Two columns of the Army have been deployed in Darjeeling and Sonada as protests escalated this morning after a young man’s body was found with a bullet wound. Locals claim the man, Yashi Bhutia, was shot dead by police around midnight in Sonada, 15 kilometres from Darjeeling.
This morning, locals marched with the body, threw stones at the Sonada police station and police had to fire teargas to disperse crowds. Some locals claimed rubber bullets were also used.
By late afternoon, there were reports that one more person had been shot dead in Darjeeling town’s Chowk Bazaar. It was not possible to ascertain the identity of the man or the circumstances of his death.
A group of protesters also torched the Darjeeling Himayalan Railway toy train station this afternoon.
Locals claimed Yashi Bhutia was shot dead by the police when he was on his way home after picking up medicines. Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) Neeraj Zimba said, “An innocent youth has been murdered. We are deeply pained.”
Gautam Deb, minister and Trinamool Congress chief of Darjeeling district, denied any police firing. “Police are not going for any confrontation with the protesters. No question of them opening fire on a lone youth,” he said from Siliguri at the foothills of Darjeeling.
Morcha chief Bimal Gurung is reported to have called an urgent meeting later today.
Darjeeling has been simmering ever since the battle between chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Morcha chief Bimal Gurung began over the ‘Bengali-must’ policy which snowballed into a demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland. Last month, when protests turned violent, the army had to be called in to control the situation.