Clashes In India’s West Bengal Kill One

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A man has been killed in violent clashes between Indian police and protesters in the state of West Bengal.

Protesters torched cars and set upon police with knives in Darjeeling on Saturday.

On Sunday, Anuj Sharma, the director general of West Bengal police, said “at least 35 policemen were injured yesterday.” Some of the victims, he said, were “stabbed in the back.”

Sharma said the man appeared to have been shot but the circumstances were still unclear.

One officer who intervened in an arson attack was “seriously wounded after protesters slashed his throat,” the police official said.

For more than a week, violence has gripped Darjeeling.

The violence began when police raided the homes and offices of members of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), a separatist movement. The GJM has long called for a new state of “Gorkhaland” to be carved out of West Bengal.

GJM’s general secretary Roshan Giri accused police of shooting dead some members in Saturday’s clashes. “Three of our comrades were killed and five were critically injured in police firing yesterday.”

Police have denied the allegation.

Supporters of the separatist Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) group take part in a rally with the bodies of protesters that GJM leaders say were killed during clashes with security forces a day earlier in Darjeeling, India, June 18, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Giri said hundreds of people took to the streets of Darjeeling on Sunday for a silent protest against “police atrocities.”

Apart from the campaign for a new state, tensions have escalated recently over a decision to introduce the Bengali language in schools, angering the Nepali-speaking Gorkhas.

The violence has dealt a major blow to the crucial tourism industry, leaving the normally busy destination deserted with shops, schools and banks closed. The unrest has caused thousands of mostly Indian tourists to pack their bags and flee the area at the height of the tourist season.

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