WB Chief Minister to withdraw cases against Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders, activists

CM Mamata Banerjee GTA chief Bimal Gurung in Darjeeling
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today said cases registered against Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders and activists during the second round of agitation for a separate state would be withdrawn. She made the announcement from Richmond Hill in Darjeeling after meeting a seven-member GJM delegation led by party general secretary Roshan Giri. Emerging from the closed door meeting along with the GJM delegation, the chief minister briefed the media. “A decision was taken after consulting the state home and chief secretaries that cases would be withdrawn against those who participated in the democratic movement. This is as per the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration agreement,” Banerjee said. She said cases related to road blockades were being withdrawn in the first phase and the state home secretary and chief secretary would be consulted regarding the remaining cases. “The 115 cases are related to blocking of roads. The agitators used to harass us every day, not now but before the signing of the GTA agreement. Withdrawal of the cases is our commitment,”
Banerjee quipped even as the GJM delegation looking amused. Clause 29 of the Memorandum of Agreement mentions that a review of all cases registered under various laws against persons involved in the GJM agitation will be conducted by the state government. Steps will be taken in the light of the review, such as not to proceed with prosecution in all cases except those involving murder. In 2012, during a review meeting in Delhi, the state home secretary had apprised the review committee that 150 cases would be withdrawn. However, the state government had failed to implement its commitment prompting the GJM to voice scepticism about Bengal’s sincerity. Giri said he was hopeful all other cases would be withdrawn soon too. “It (withdrawal of cases) is on the basis of the tripartite GTA agreement. All cases except those related to murder must be withdrawn,” he said. In all, more than 350 cases have been filed by the state government against GJM leaders and activists during the four years of agitation for statehood till the GTA agreement was signed in 2011 to bring to an end the turmoil. Cases were filed by the state government against GJM supporters involved in blocking highways, gheraoing government offices and police stations and torching houses of political rivals and government properties. The GJM has always made it a point to place the issue of withdrawal of cases involving party supporters during bipartite and tripartite meetings with the state and central governments. “This is the first phase and we are hopeful that all other cases too will be soon withdrawn,” Giri said.(EOI)

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