Leader of the pro-Gorkhaland faction of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), Bimal Gurung, on Sunday highlighted “threats” by a police officer to a Darjeeling resident as an example of “police atrocities” in the Hills, two days before a scheduled visit by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for an investor summit.
Gurung claimed in a statement that a police officer had threatened the resident’s mother and sister with “rape” and burn down their house. The GJM leader also said he would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, calling for a CBI probe into incidents of arson and violence in the Hills. In a counter-statement, Binay Tamang, chairman of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), called the statement a conspiracy.
An audio clip purportedly of a conversation between the police officer and a resident, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, has gone viral in the Hills. “The audio clip is being spread through social media. We have not received any complaint,” said Akhilesh Chaturvedi, SP (Darjeeling).
The alleged victim could not be reached despite attempts. It is learnt he has sent an email complaint to Union Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, asking for protection for his family.
In his statement, Gurung said, “As a leader of the Gorkha community, I condole the death of democracy in the Hills, Terai and Dooars region. Even after killing so many innocent Gorkha youths, the West Bengal Police have continued to unleash a reign of terror in the Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Dooars region.”
‘The audio recording that has gone viral today, provides a very small glimpse into how those loyal to Gorkhaland cause is being treated in West Bengal. In a state run by a woman Chief Minister, her police have the audacity and brazenness to threaten someone’s mother and sister with rape… If you listen to the tape carefully, the IC has confessed ‘Bahut Ghar Jalaya’, this statement shows who has unleashed real terror in our hills…” the statement read.
Tamang claimed the audio clip is fake. “A high-level inquiry will take place into the circulated audio clip purportedly held between one person and the IC of Darjeeling Sadar Police Station. Preliminary inquiry suggests that it is false and baseless. If there is truth in the recording, the concerned person can file a complaint for hurting sentiments of a community and for using indecent words…” read the statement, which was signed ‘Gorkha Janata’.
“Just two days before the Hill Business Summit, there is every possibility that attempts are being made to disrupt peace by Bimal Gurung and Bimal Gurung faction … Therefore, until all the facts are investigated and truth is established, we request all to maintain patience,” Tamang said in his statement.