In Mamata’s Bengal, police is issuing rape threats, Gorkha activists claim

letter by Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia
A voice clip has been doing the rounds on social media where a policeman is alleged to be threatening a person with dire consequences. In the clip, a police officer from Darjeeling region as alleged can be heard threatening the person that his house will be set on fire, and when the victim said that the policeman was talking like a goon, the officer threatened to rape his mother and sister.

The policeman accused is Soumyajit Roy, who is an Inspector of Police at the Sadar Police Station in the Sadar subdivision of the Darjeeling Police.

The tweet below contains the voice clip; strong language disclaimers apply:

    This is how West Bengal police threatens to burn house of Gorkha people and rape there women’s @MamataOfficial @WBPolice @PMOIndia @Rastryapita @SSAhluwaliaMP @GorkhalandGJM @indiangorkhas @rajnathsingh @ILoveSiliguri @WomensRightsNPS @TimesNow @republic @abpnewstv #gorkhaland

    — Bishwakarma Krishna (@bishwakarma123) March 11, 2018

Last year, protests had rocked the hilly regions of West Bengal over the demand for a separate Gorkhaland after the West Bengal government proposed making Bengali mandatory in schools and the place has been in turmoil ever since.

The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), which led the stir, had alleged last year that the police had shot dead 3 people and the Darjeeling Toy Train and Trinamool offices were targeted by the protesters. The region was shut down for months over the demand by the protesters and the region has been limping towards normalcy ever since.

Now, Gorkha organisations have taken up this latest instance of state police’s high-handedness and atrocities against Gorkhas.

According to The Darjeeling Chronicle, GJM Chief Bimal Gurung has also issued a press statement that reads as follows :

He condoled the death of democracy in the Hill, Terai and Dooars region. He said that the audio recording that has gone viral today, provides a very small glimpse into how those loyal to Gorkhaland cause are being treated in West Bengal.  In a state run by a woman Chief Minister, her police have the audacity and brazenness to threaten someone’s mother and sister with rape.

He also demanded a CBI and NIA enquiry and said, “I strongly believe in our national motto – Satyameva Jayate. I have faith that the truth will always triumph, and despite all attempts at muddying the water, the real face of West Bengal government and their police force has been exposed.

Organisation named the Kalimpong Krishak Kalyan Sangathan had written to the MP from Darjeeling, Shri SS Alhuwalia, Smt Sarita Rai, MLA from Kalimpong and the District Magistrates of Darjeeling and Kalimpong demanding a Judicial probe into the matter by a sitting Supreme Court Judge against the said policeman and his immediate suspension failing which the KKKS will launch a protest march and Chakka Jam from the 14th of March in Kalimpong and Darjeeling districts.

After that, Shri SS Alhuwalia has now written a letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh detailing the “blatant human rights abuse” and that his intervention is urgently needed. He begins his letter by drawing the Home Minister’s attention to the alleged threats made by the Inspector.

The second page of the letter says that Alhuwalia has got various requests that the Government of India should take up this matter with the Government of West Bengal at the earliest and legal procedures should be started against the police officer concerned immediately. He mentions how GJM Chief Bimal Gurung and hundreds of his followers have been booked under UAPA. The FIR also includes 5000-7000 unnamed others which facilitate the police to arbitrarily include anyone’s name. In the light of this, and the phone recording, he requested that these should be investigated by an independent agency like the NIA.

He also requested that the NIA should take suo moto cognisance of IC Saumyajit Roy’s threatening call.

The letter also enclosed the complaints of Mrs Shankuntala Bhattarai and other women of Achutam Bhattarai’s family.

The New Indian Express has quoted a top police official as saying, “[it’s a ] social media hullabaloo… People are investigating the case on Facebook.” On similar lines, Darjeeling SP was quoted by Indian Express as having said, “The audio clip is being spread through social media. We have not received any complaint.”

However, the family members of Achutam Bhattarai family has alleged that the Darjeeling Police has refused to accept their FIR.

OpIndia talked to the police officer in question and the officer has explicitly denied the allegations and called the voice clip “fake”. When asked if he will press for defamation charges if the clip was fake, he said that he ‘will do what seniors suggest’.

One can only hope that the Chief Minister of West Bengal, who is a woman herself, will look into the matter in her own personal capacity and take appropriate action after evaluating the facts of the matter.

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