New Delhi, September 25, 2013
Leaders of Delhi Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) comprising its President Manoj Shankar, General Secretary Ranjan Sharma, Joint Secretary Lopsang Lama and Vice President Rustam Chettri met Justice KG Balakrishnan, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission yesterday at his chamber in INA, New Delhi.
The entire region of Darjeeling is speaking in one voice – “a separate state” – which is the only aspiration attached to the sentiment of the people and the movement has been non violent since the inception but on the other hand government of West Bengal has simply overlooked the issue, leaving no stone unturned by resorting to coercive means in a desperate attempt to suppress the ongoing peaceful movement.
Ranjan Sharma said they submitted a memorandum stating the state [West Bengal] administration have completely by-passed the principles of democracy and interfered with the fundamental rights of the citizens living in the region, irrespective of the fact that demand is legitimate and the movement is peaceful and voluntary.
“We also discussed the fact that there was huge deployment of CRPF and Police personnel and so far more than 1200 innocent youth, women, democratically elected members of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) have been arrested blind-folded, merely on the sake of suspicion, without any evidence and without following the due process of law,” he added.
The Chairman was surprised to hear that so many people have been arrested. “We also put across to the Chairman the fact that on the pretext of restoring law and order CRPF and police personnel have taken law into their hands by openly assaulting, intimidating people in the streets thereby subjecting them to immense mental trauma, humiliation, harassment and difficulty and made a mockery of parliamentary democracy by depriving the citizens of their basic constitutional rights – Right to Life and Personal Liberty (Article 21), Freedom of Expression (Article19) , Equality before law (Article 14), Protection in respect of conviction for offences (Article 20), etc”.
The GJM Delhi team also apprised that State Human Rights Commission had recently remarked that it has no jurisdiction to entertain such plea and the NHRC said that if it is the case of human rights violation State Commission has to act. Upon hearing us the Chairman has said that he would ask the concerned authorities to respond and take appropriate steps as per due process of law.
The Chairman said that he would forward the complaint to the state administration and ask them to revert back. The Chairman also acknowledged that Gorkhaland is a very old demand and he has heard about and read about it many times. He also recalled that he had visited Darjeeling and it is a beautiful place with very good people and the fact that it is a resourceful area when it comes to tea and tourism industry.
Ranjan Sharma said that the meeting was positive and that he was hopeful that their efforts would bring effective results. “We have immense faith upon this esteemed institution; we leave it to the wisdom of the Hon’ble Commission to take appropriate measures. We are expecting that NHRC will heed cognizance to our legitimate grievances and solicit its kind indulgence by taking appropriate action so that the misuse of law by the state government may be addressed as per due process of law”.
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