The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday termed the janata curfew as another way to impose bandh in the hills of Darjeeling and asked the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to file an affidavit by September 5 explaining why it should not be asked to compensate for paralysing life in the region. The GJM has been demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.
Stating that the ongoing bandh in the hills was a clear violation of the High Courts order and amounting to contempt of court,the Division Bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi said the shutdown violated the fundamental as well as the human rights. General people are not animals or dogs. Why did they not get medicine or medical treatment during the bandh. The educational institutions have closed. Where will the students go? remarked the Bench.
The court also directed the West Bengal government to assess the loss of public and government properties during the bandh that began on August 3. The order specified that the government will have to evaluate the loss of working hours and other social costs involved in the bandh.
The court also pulled up the state government for failing to bring normalcy in the hills and expressed its displeasure over the report submitted by state Home Secretary by terming it vague.
GJM counsel Avijit Basu,however,told the court that the outfit has not called the bandh and it is merely supporting peoples decision to stay indoors. There is no such bandh in the hills. The GJM did not call for the bandh from August 3. After outfits like Amra Bangali,Shiv Sena,BJP and Trinamool Congress started an economic blockade of the region between August 1 and 2,the people of the hills called for a bandh from August 3, said Basu.
He said a large number of security personnel deployed in the hills are harassing the locals,as a result of which people are not coming out of their houses.
However,when the bench wanted to know from Basu what was the role of the GJM in the bandh,he admitted that Morcha was supporting it.
Pulling up those who called the bandh,the bench said,It is clear that the general people of the hills were deprived of the food and medicine since August 3. General people are not animals.