GTA leaders court arrest for partyman

The Statesman

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DARJEELING: A day after Chandra Yonzon – an elected Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) member of Kalimpong – was held for allegedly setting the house of a former GNLF member on fire, elected members of the GTA courted arrest at various police stations in the Hills demanding Chandra’s release on Friday.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has also called an indefinite strike in the GTA area from Sunday to step its demand.

GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said, “One of our elected GTA members has been arrested wrongfully by the police. In protest and to demand his release, all the elected GTA members and municipality councillors have decided to court arrest.”

“If an elected GTA member is treated this way then what will happen to others? This shows that there is no value of being a GTA member,” added Giri.

On Thursday night, GJM activists allegedly set ablaze the house of KN Subba, former Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council councillor from Gorubathan in Darjeeling’s Kalimpong subdivision. Subba was a former GNLF member who joined the Trinamool. Following the attack, Chandra was arrested for instigating the mob which triggered protest by the GJM.

Police confirmed that GJM leaders had courted arrest.Subba, who had left Gorkha National Liberation Front to join Trinamool about five months ago, was not being allowed to enter his ancentral house at Tar in Gorubathan by GJM activists.

On Thursday afternoon, when police accompanied him to Tar, the GJM supporters objected, leading to a clash between the cops and the agitators. While 11 persons were arrested, fresh resentment grew at 11.30pm when the GJM supporters set his house on fire. Gorubathan police arrested Chandra Yonzon for instigating the mob.

“GJM leaders are courting arrest and we have arrested them under the preventive measures. We are still getting the names of the leaders and cannot say how many have been arrested so far,” said a senior police official of Darjeeling Sadar police station.

Elected members of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GJM) courted arrest at various police station in the Hills, demanding release of a member arrested yesterday evening allegedly for his role in burning of an opposition’s house in Kalimpong.

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has called an indefinite strike in the GTA area from Sunday, to press for the release of the arrested GTA member.

On Wednesday, former Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) councilor K. N. Subba, now in the Trinamool Congress (TMC) camp was stopped allegedly by GJM supporters from returning to his house in Gorubathan. Subba, who joined the TMC in February, was returning home after five months. Most GNFL leaders were hounded out of the Hills in 2008. While some have joined other parties, others including party president Subash Ghisingh are still in exile, in the plains of Siliguri.

Matter took a worse turn when miscreants on Thursday burnt Subba’s house and police arrested Chandra Yonzon, an elected GTA member representing the Gorubathan constituency of Kalimpong sub-division. Apparently, Subba yesterday had managed to sneak into one of his relative’s house in Gorubathan and GJM supporters had got the information.

GJM general secretary Roshan Giri, who is also an elected member refuting the allegation said, “One of our elected GTA member has been arrested wrongfully and without any reasons by the police. In protest and to demand for his release all the elected GTA members and municipality councilors have decided to court arrest in the police station today”.

Adding, “If an elected GTA member is treated this way then what will happen to others. This shows that there is no value of being a GTA member”.

GJM has also called an indefinite strike in the Hills from Sunday. “In Kalimpong the strike has strike from today but we will enforce the indefinite bandh in the entire GTA area from Sunday, tomorrow being a government holiday. Our demand is that Yonzon must be released immediately,” Giri said.

On Thursday police arrested eleven GJM activists including five female Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP). Though, the women GLPs have been granted bail on PR bond, the rest were however denied bail by the Kalimpong court.

Following news of the arrest of the Kalimpong GJM leader, today, party activists held demonstration and gheraoed police station across the Hills. “The GNLF party wants to create panic and unrest in the peaceful Hills. It is their ploy to malign our image with political intentions,” alleged Giri.

Senior officials of the Darjeeling sadar police station confirmed GJM leaders courting mass arrest and said that they were being arrested under section 151 of the CrPC. “GJM leaders are courting arrest and we have arrested them under the preventive measures. We are still getting the names of the leaders and cannot say how many have been arrested so far,” said a senior police official

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