Darjeeling district administration clamped Section 144 in Sonada

Section 144 of the CrPc
The Darjeeling district administration today clamped Section 144 of the CrPc at the Naliuchour area of Sonada in a bid to prevent a possible flare-up between the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and Gorkha National Liberation Front on the occasion of Shahid Diwas on Tuesday.

Both the GJM and GNLF observe July 27 as Shahid Diwas to mark the killing of 10 people in police firing in Kalimpong in 1986. That day, GNLF cadres demanding the scrapping of the 1950 Indo-Nepal treaty, clashed with the police at Engine Dara, 9th Mile. It can be said this incident provided the impetus for the Gorkhaland agitation that ultimately took the lives of more than 1,200 people.
In the list of martyrs, the GJM has included the seven people who were killed in the second phase of statehood agitation from 2007 to 2011, which ended with the signing of the GTA accord on July 18, 2011.
The GJM and GNLF observe Shahid Diwas separately in various places of the hills, but at Naliuchour, the two parties pay homage to the martyrs at the Shahid Bedi erected near the Sarwajanik Primary School.
An order issued by Darjeeling sub-divisional officer Avik Chatterjee states, “We received a prayer from the Jorebungalow police officer in-charge to impose the prohibitory order from July 26 to 27 in the Naliuchour area of Sonada apprehending breach of peace and tranquility as local leaders of the GJM and GNLF have sought permission to observe Shahid Diwas on the same day and in the same place.”
Following the order, the public is retrained from sloganeering and assembling in groups of more than five within a radius of 200 metres from the Naliuchour area. The district administration has also deployed forces for the two days.
The administration’s apprehension is based on past experience when GJM and GNLF cadres have clashed at Naliuchour while observing Shahid Diwas. Last year too, Section 144 was enforced in the area.
Local GJM leaders have reluctantly agreed to adhere to the prohibition even as they said they would observe Shahid Diwas in another place. “The district administration should have ensured a conducive atmosphere for both parties to observe Shahid Diwas at the Shahid Bedi at Naliuchour. It is unfortunate we cannot pay our homage to the martyrs of our area. But we will definitely observe the day in another place in the area tomorrow,” said Ramesh Tamang, president of the GJM’s Sonada-Pachchyang unit.
Bhupendra Gurung, convener of the GNLF’s Sonada-Tung unit, too echoed similar sentiments but welcomed the district administration’s order. “Several of our people from this area died in the 1986 statehood agitation. It is sad that we cannot observe Shahid Diwas at Naliuchour tomorrow. But then, the district administration has been fair in not allowing either party,” he said, adding the unit would join the programme that is being organised in Kurseong. (EOIC)

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