On Thursday, protesters and paramilitary forces battled with stones in this fog-shrouded town after police raided premises linked to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung and claimed to have recovered hundreds of weapons.
The GJM, whose demand for a separate Gorkhaland has put it on a collision course with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, retaliated by calling for an immediate and indefinite shutdown in the hills.
According to PTI, police recovered more than 300 weapons, including arrows and explosives in raids.
"The present situation in the hills is created by the state government. They want to suppress us using huge police force", GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri told PTI.
Refuting the police allegations, Giri said the bows and arrows stored in the party office was for the annual archery programme of the local schools.
"What have they found? Bow and arrow? That is a traditional weapon in the hills. Those were stored for the annual archery programme of the nearby schools," IANS quoted Giri as saying.
Meanwhile, the women Morcha activists gathered outside Gurung's house in large numbers and demonstrated demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.
The demand by the GJM for a separate Gorkhaland state to be carved out of the Darjeeling hills of West Bengal state is fast turning into a major political crisis for Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee, and is likely to cripple the critical tourist industry during the peak summer season.
After the raid on Gurung's house, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha claimed such "drastic steps" could worsen the situation in the hills and urged Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to call for an all-party meeting in the hills to come up with a solution.
"Mamata Banerjee provoked the unrest in the hills and now she is making the situation even worse with these steps. She should immediately call an all-party meeting in Darjeeling to listen to their demands and sort out the situation," Sinha claimed.
He clarified that BJP was in no way supporting the GJM's demand for Gorkhaland.
(With inputs from agencies)
First Published: 17 Jun 2017 08:28 AM