Darjeeling: ‘Youths say, soldiers have special place in their hearts’, while stone pelting continues

Darjeeling: As the protest is erupting in Darjeeling after three decades, a mob of stone pelters who are allegedly backed by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) is directing the movement for a new state.

Thousands of the youths in support for Gorkhaland challenged the defence forces after being lathi charged, as per a report by HT.

“We want Gorkhaland. We want a separate state. It is a fight for our own identity and future. It is my right and I will have it,” said Pranab, a Class 12 student.

Meanwhile, many of the youths say they have stayed away from hurling stones at the army, as defence forces have a special place in their heart. “You will not find a single family in the hills which don’t have either a serving or a retired army personnel,” a 20-year-old youth said.

Since June 8, when the clashes first broke out, the protesters have rained stones on police and paramilitary forces, and most of these stone pelters hail from educated families

“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. In the past week, at least three people have died.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has ruled out talks and alleged that the GJM nurture terrorists and smuggle arms, “The agitators have been raining bombs and stones on the police for hours at a stretch,” she told the reporters in Kolkata on Saturday.

“Stones are the easiest way to attack the police. These are free, available just about everywhere in the hills and most come in sizes that fit our fingers perfectly,” said Subir Rai, a youth from Birch Hill area.