Amid the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) sponsored indefinite shutdown in the northern West Bengal hills, fresh unrest broke out here on Tuesday as GJM supporters clashed with police during a protest rally.
The protesters shouted slogans and pelted bricks at the security forces, prompting the police to resort to a massive baton charge to disperse the crowd near Chowk Bazar.
Dividing themselves into small units, the Morcha activists used the narrow lanes and bylanes of Darjeeling to take out the rally in order to bypass the tight security on the main roads but were stopped by the police near Chowk Bazar.
Senior police officers of the district, including the newly appointed Superintendant of Police Akhilesh Chaturvedi were seen patrolling the streets, alongside the counter insurgency force and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel.
"The activists became violent and resorted to stone pelting at our forces near Chowk Bazaar. But the mob has been disbursed from the place. We have to check if any of the officers got injured," Chaturvedi said.
Meanwhile, police on Monday night arrested the GJM-run hill development body Gorkhaland Territorial Administration member Satish Pokhrial in connection with the violence in the area since last Thursday.
A massive force was posted outside the GJM party office in Darjeeling's Singmari.
The West Bengal hills have been on the boil for nearly a week over the GJM's demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
The GJM has also accused the state government of "high-handedness and committing atrocities" on the people of the hills.
Besides, the party is protesting against what it calls the state government's "attempt" to impose Bengali on the Nepali-speaking people of the region, even though Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has asserted there are no such plans for the hills.
A violent clash ensued between police and Morcha activists last Thursday during a protest rally, right after the state government's cabinet meeting in Darjeeling, that injured several activists and at least 50 police personnel.