Human rights team visits Darjeeling
Darjeeling, July 20, 2017: An Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) team arrived in strife torn Darjeeling Hills on Thursday. APDR members after visiting ground zero have expressed concerns over alleged human rights violation issues in the Hills. They feel that the Government is trying to create a Kashmir like situation in Darjeeling.
The Hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts have been witnessing a Gorkhaland agitation since June this year. An indefinite bandh has been clamped since June 15 by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. Education institutions, offices, tea gardens, banks along with shops and business establishments have been closed for more than a month. 8 people have lost their lives in alleged police firing.
"The condition of availability of food supplies is bad. The State Government cannot just sidestep their responsibilities with the pretext that public distribution supply (PDS) shops have been forced closed by the agitators. The Government has to work out a substitute to ensure that people get food" stated Dhiraj Sengupta, General Secretary, APDR.
The 9 members of this human rights' group divided themselves into two teams. While one team visited Bijanbari the other team went around Darjeeling town. They will be visiting Kalimpong on Friday.
"We gave a submission to the District Administration in Darjeeling demanding a judicial probe into the killings. The families of the deceased will have to be provided humanitarian assistance along with compensation. Internet services will have to resume immediately" demanded Sengupta.
APDR has also complained of police excess. "People are being harassed by the police. In case of the deaths, the relatives of the deceased are not being provided with copies of the post mortem reports along with other details. In case of arrests they are being shifted from one correctional home to the other. These case details are not being provided to the family members" alleged the General Secretary.
The APDR members stated that they have received specific complaints against the Darjeeling Police Super. "The family members of deceased Samir Gurung complained that when they were taking his dead body home in a vehicle, they were stopped and beaten up by the SP. The SP has also threatened to torch the house of a GJM leader Mahendra Pradhan of Sonada. We will take up all these issues." stated Sengupta.
The APDR team also visited the Darjeeling Sadar Hospital to inquire about the availability and stock of medicine supplies. They also met political leaders in Darjeeling.
"After we return to Kolkata, we will take up the issues with the Government and the National Human Rights Commission" added Sengupta.