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An FIR has been registered in Darjeeling against top Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders, including its chief Bimal Gurung, and a host of award-winning academicians and teachers for allegedly holding a meeting where they “conspired” to hold “agitation programmes in the hills” over the state government’s move to make Bengali mandatory from Class I to X in all schools.
While the alleged indoor meeting was held on May 30, the FIR — accessed by The Sunday Express — was lodged the same day by inspector-in-charge of Sadar Bazar police station, Saumyajit Roy.
“I do hereby lodge a suo moto complaint against them to the effect that today about 11.30 hours the above noted accused persons held indoor meetings with teachers of different schools and educational institutes of Darjeeling and adjacent areas at Bhanu Bhavan, Darjeeling. In this meeting, the accused assembled to conspire agitation programmes in the hills. It was revealed that the above persons had resolved to go on strike at all educational institutes in Darjeeling and other sub-divisions of Darjeeling hills,’’ says Roy in the FIR.
Roy goes on to say, “The said persons also threatened the state that if a protest rally is not permitted by the district administration the law and order of the land may take its own shape and the GJM may go for an indefinite strike. The accused persons are purposefully making an issue unnecessarily with a motive of provocation to ignite feelings of hatred and enmity between different castes of people on the basis of regionalism and trying to distort the government policies, making concocting statements and wrongly misguiding the common people to go for hatred and lawlessness in the name of democratic agitations. It is also to be noticed that no such specific notification in view of compulsion of Bengali language to the education system of the hills has been imposed till date.”
When contacted, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri, who has been named in the FIR, said: “How can they lodge an FIR on the basis of an indoor meeting? This is both surprising as well as draconian. A measure taken to stifle our voices.”
“Our legal advisers will look into the matter and plan our next move. Meanwhile, we will continue our agitation. Tomorrow, we will hold a massive rally in protest against this forced imposition of the Bengali language, in Darjeeling,” he added.
Over the past few weeks, the Darjeeling hills have witnessed agitations by members of the GJM as well as student bodies unaffiliated to any party, against the “forced imposition” of the language.
Meanwhile, Darjeeling MP S S Ahluwalia — who is currently on an official visit to Europe — has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the matter, asking him to intervene in what he calls an “emergency-like” situation.
“I am writing this letter to you in great anguish and in great urgency from Oslo, as I feel that your intervention is immediately needed to ensure that the people of Darjeeling as well as North Bengal are saved from the Draconian emergency-like measures undertaken by the Mamata Banerjee government to stifle the voices of dissent in the Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars against her repressive arbitrary order,’’ wrote Ahluwalia.
“The linguistic minority communities within Bengal have started to voice their dissent and questioned the intent of
such a move … in retaliation the district administration at the behest of Chief Minister mamata Banerjee has filed an FIR against eminent people,’’ he added in his letter.