Darjeeling, July 11, 2017: While rallies with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters wielding "Khukuris" (tradition Gorkha sword) took to the streets in Darjeeling town on Tuesday, a clearly annoyed Calcutta High Court division bench pulled up the Union Government and State for not being able to defuse the Darjeeling situation. The division bench has also added the CBI to this case.
On June 9, a PIL had been lodged at the High Court in connection with the ongoing bandh in the Hills. Hearing the PIL the division bench comprising of acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty had earlier ordered the State and Union Government to sit together and resolve the issue of deployment of additional Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) in the Darjeeling Hills.
The State and the Centre has locked horns over the deployment of additional CAPF in the Hills. While the State has been demanding additional forces the Centre has not complied.
The division bench on Tuesday pulled up the State and Centre stating that owing to the difference between the two Governments, the Hills are suffering. The bench ordered the Joint Secretary of Home, Government of India to file an affidavit within 72 hours as to why Centre is not being able to provide additional forces.
Earlier representing the Centre, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Kaushik Chanda had told the court that 11 companies of CAPF have been provided for Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts.
The division bench has asked the ADG (Law and Order,) Government of West Bengal to file an affidavit regarding the present law and order condition in the Hills and the problems being faced.
The division bench will be hearing the sides again on Friday and is also expected to pass and order. Earlier the division bench had declared the ongoing bandh in the Hills as "illegal."
The division bench adding the CBI in the case asked the investigation agency to file an affidavit as to why the CBI has failed to take steps to ensure that GJM President Bimal Gurung, his wife Asha Gurung and several others accused in the killing of All India Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang is not present in Kolkata from the date of framing of charge in the case until completion of the trial, as was directed by another division bench of the high court.
Incidentally Madan Tamang had been brutally assassinated on May 21, 2010 at the Upper Clubside, Darjeeling while overseeing preparation of a public meeting. The case was handed over to the CBI.
In May 2015 the CBi submitted a charge sheet naming 54 persons including Bimal Gurung, Asha Gurung, Roshan Giri and Binay Tamang. 22, including Gurung, Giri, Tamang had moved anticipatory bail pleas in the Calcutta high court.
A division bench headed by Justice Ashim Roy had in December 2016 granted the Morcha leaders anticipatory bail but had specified that the trial against the accused would be conducted by a special CBI court in Calcutta and they would have to stay in the city (within the jurisdiction of Kolkata metropolitan police) from the time of framing of the charges and till the completion of trial. The framing of charges was to be initiated in February this year.
In the wee hours of the morning, the Sports and the Youth Affairs office of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) located at Zakir Hussain Road in Darjeeling was torched.
36 year old Ashok Tamang who was injured in the scuffle between the GJM and security forces on July 8, passed away in a Hospital in Tadong, Sikkim. His was body was brought to his residence located at Lowis Jubilee Complex in Darjeeling.
The day saw a Khukuri rally brought out in Darjeeling with the demand for Gorkhaland in Darjeeling.