Fresh violence in Darjeeling following Gorkhaland activist's death

The situation in Darjeeling district's Mirik continued to be tense following the death of a Gorkhaland activist allegedly in police firing even as fresh incidents of violence and road blockades ensued in the northern West Bengal hills on Tuesday. Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters allegedly torched a panchayat office in Kalimpong district's Algara early on Tuesday, while an officice of the state Land Reforms Department in Darjeeling's Mirik was also stone pelted and vandalised, police said. Protesting the the death of their supporter on Monday night, the GJM activists took out a massive rally in Mirik on Tuesday afternoon and blocked the adjoining roads felling tree trunks. The GJM leadership has however denied all the allegations of vandalism and strongly condemned the police action, claiming that there was unprovoked firing on their supporters in Mirik during Monday's clash. The GJM had on Monday claimed that one of their supporters named Ashish Tamang was killed in police firing during a clash between the Trinamool Congress cadres and GJM supporters in Mirik. GJM General Secretary Binay Tamang said Ashish, a resident of Magargunj village was shot in the chest by police. Though police confirmed that they received a dead body, they refused to divulge any information about the identity of the deceased or the reason of his death. Police also denied firing at the crowd and claimed only tear gas shells was charged from their end to disperse the mob. West Bengal Tourism Minister Gautam Deb also claimed that police did not open fire and said the massive clash between Trinamool and GJM activists might have caused the death. "Police did not open fire. They are playing a sensitive role in the hills. It is possible that the person lost his live during the clash between the two parties," he said. Deb also accused the GJM of resorting to continuous violence and vandalism that cannot be tolerated by any government.