The Army was on Saturday redeployed in Darjeeling hills after fresh violence broke out at Sonada where Gorkhaland supporters torched a police outpost and a toy train station after a youth was killed in alleged police firing last night.
Activists of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) also clashed with the police at Sonada and Chawkbazar in Darjeeling as the indefinite shutdown in the hills entered its 24th day.
Two columns of the Army comprising around 100 personnel were deployed in Sonada and Darjeeling in the wake of fresh violence, defence sources said.
GNLF spokesperson Neeraj Zimba claimed that the youth Tashi Bhutia was shot dead by the security forces last night when he had gone out to purchase medicines at Sonada.
The police, however, said they did not have any report of firing.
“We don’t have any report of police firing as of now. We are looking into the incident. We can give you details later,” a police officer said.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Javed Shamim, when asked about the firing, said, “It will be known only after the inquiry.”
The GJM and other hill parties have lodged a police complaint accusing the police of killing the youth.
“The youth was killed by the police without any reason. His body has bullet injuries. We demand that the policemen involved be punished,” GJM leader Binay Tamang said.
As news of his death spread, hundreds of Gorkhaland supporters came out on the streets and raised slogans against “police atrocities”.
They clashed with the police and set on fire a police outpost at Sonada and the toy train station of the Darjeeling-Himalayan railways, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The GJM said that it will take out a rally with the body in the Chowkbazar area of Darjeeling later in the day.
The Centre had said yesterday that it was keen on holding tripartite talks with the GJM and the West Bengal government to end the agitation.
With food supply severely hit due to the indefinite strike, the GJM and various NGOs distributed food amongst the people.
Barring medicine outlets, all shops, schools, colleges remained closed. Internet services remained suspended for the 21st day.
The police and the security forces patrolled the streets and kept a vigil on the entry and exit routes.