Democratic Front to file petition in HC challenging Darjeeling police summons

Democratic Front
The newly floated Democratic Front (DF) a conglomeration of four political outfits have said it would file a writ petition in the High Court challenging the summons that has been issued by the Darjeeling police, against its members.
On June 28, the Darjeeling police had issued a notice under sections 41 of the CrPC and under sections 143/341/186 of the IPC read with section 8B of the National Highway Act.
Ten leaders of the Front - Bharati Tamang, Pratap Khati and Laxman Pradhan of the All India Gorkha League (AIGL), R.B.Rai and Govind Chhetri of the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxist (CPRM), Mann Ghisingh, Biren Lama, Prabin Zimba and Mani Kamal Chhetri from the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) and Shankar Hang Subba of the Sikkim Darjeeling Ekikaran Manch (SDEM)- have been served the notice and asked to surrender in the court within seven days.
The incident relates to Bharati’s three-day hungers strike from June 14 to 16 at Chowrastha which was preceded by a rally on the first day. Police sources said the Front had not been given permission for the rally.
On Sunday after an indoor meeting in Darjeeling, Frontspokesperson Subba alleged, “We condemn the police summon as it violates our democratic right. We will challenge and file a petition against it within this week”. He added, “We have tried to take permission for our political activity like conducting rally and public meeting but the administration never complied with our request.”
The Front spokesperson also said that in the petition it would place facts like use of indecent behaviour by police against Bharati, the widow of slain AIGL leader Madan Tamang during her hunger strike, non-compliance of court order to arrest 23 Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders and allowing the Trinamool Congress  activists to hold rally and dharna without permission among others.
A city court of Kolkata had issued a warrant of arrest against 23 GJM leaders including Bimal Gurung. However, the court issued a stay order and has asked the CBI investigating the Tamang murder case not to arrest the GJM leader until the case was disposed.
“Bharati’s hunger strike was to seek justice for her husband’s murder and the Front is only trying to restore democracy in the Hills. But, we have been made the scrape goat and summons are being issued against our members on political whims,” Subba alleged.
Khati who is the AIGL general secretary was more vocal, alleging a police-GJM nexus. “This (summon) exercise is to demoralize Bharati and the Front. The police and GJM are hand in glove. If GJM leaders against whom arrest warrants have been issued can roam around freely than why can’t Bharati seek justice peacefully,” he said.
A senior official who did not wish to be named refuting the allegation said, “The police have filed a case against unlawful assembly and blocking NH-55. They (Front) were not given permission to organize a rally before the start of Bharati’s hunger strike but they went ahead”.
On the allegation of police favouritism, the official said, “Even the GJM and GNLF had sought permission for their public meeting but were denied to maintain peace in the Hills. As for arrest of GJM leaders is concerned, it is the matter of the court.”(EOIC)

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