Gorkhaland: Inspired by Kashmiris, Palestinians, Darjeeling protesters say; Demand statehood

Srinagar

Stone pelters are back in the north Bengal hills after 30 years and some of the protesters have said that they were inspired by protesters in Jammu and Kashmir, Hindustan Times reported.

According to the report, the protesters said that they have a reason to draw inspiration from Kashmir. On YouTube, one can see even girls throwing stones at the police and security forces in Kashmir,” said a protester.

The Gorkhaland protests have pushed Darjeeling to the brink of collapse, with widespread violence erupting in the picturesque hill station for the first time in almost three decades.

But apart from the usual arms and clashes, the forces are battling a new adversary: stone pelters who are allegedly backed by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) that is helming the movement for a new state.

Like in Kashmir, teenagers and youth in their twenties use stones to attack the police, often using the advantage of height in the hills to injure the police. Since June 8, when the clashes first broke out, the protesters have rained stones on police and paramilitary forces, who had to retreat on some occasions.

“A total of 36 police personnel were injured in the clashes on June 17, and many of them by the stones thrown by GJM agitators,” said Siddhinath Gupta, additional director general of police.

Over the past week, at least three people have died and scores injured in Darjeeling as thousands-strong mobs have clashed with police, torched vehicles and ransacked property to push for a separate Gorkhaland state.

“Why only in Kashmir, the stone has been used by youths of Palestine too. We watched all the videos on YouTube,” said another youth in Darjeeling on Sunday. He participated in the rally with the body of a GJM supporter who allegedly fell to the bullets of the forces.

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