INTERNATIONAL

Protest Over Separate State Rages On In Indian Hilltown

Normal life in India's eastern hill town of Darjeeling continued to be paralyzed as the autonomy agitation by ethnic Nepalis for a separate state raged on.

The Nepali-speaking Gorkha community in the tea producing region has been protesting since last month, demanding that a separate state of "Gorkhaland" be carved out of West Bengal province to protect their Himalayan culture.

Seven civilians have died and dozens of security personnel wounded in near-regular street clashes.

The agitation started out as a protest against imposition of Bengali language in the schools of the hills and escalated quickly.

The demand for Gorkhaland has been there for decades. At least 1,200 people died during the first Gorkhaland protests in the 1980s.