SNS, DARJEELING/KURSEONG, 9 APRIL: An ex-servicemen's association today organised rallies in Darjeeling and Mirik today to demand justice for the 9 April 2008 police lathi-charge against protesters agitating for Gorkhaland, which badly injured 25 ex-servicemen.
In Mirik, the protest today was styled as Black Day, and all the ex-servicemen wore black patches on their arms.
Even after four years, no proper inquiry has been made into the incident, said Mr Pandu Tamang president of the association's Mirik unit. The association, affiliated with the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha, criticised the failure of the state's "one-man commission" to report on the enquiry into the incident.
"We have not received any report on the enquiry by BL Meena’s one-man commission or any reply to the Right To Information 2005 act application forwarded to the Darjeeling district magistrate’s office in May 2008," said retired Col Ramesh Allay, president of the Bharatiya Gorkha Purva Sainik Ehwam Ardh-Sainik Morcha.
Today, ex-servicemen submitted a memorandum to Darjeeling district magistrate Soumitra Mohan, demanding a CBI enquiry into the issue. In Mirik, they submitted a memorandums to the Mirik block development officer and Mirik police.
Mr Tamang said the documents mainly demanded that a judicial inquiry into the incident be conducted, all the guilty parties be punished, and compensation and financial aid be provided to the injured ex-servicemen.
On 9 April 2008, about 1,000 people had gathered at Darjeeling More to enter Siliguri for a rally in support of Gorkhaland. Suddenly, an unidentified group disrupted the gathering and police lathi-charged and lobbed tear-gas shells. Several policemen and ex-servicemen were injured.
"Indian Gorkha ex-servicemen, during a peaceful protest march were brutally assaulted and defamed," Col Allay said. "Ex-constable Jiwan Khati had his medals snatched and thrown away, which lead to his suicide three days later. Also, Ms Yanky Gurung, wife of Kargil Saheed and posthumously decorated Rifleman Santosh Gurung were amongst beaten up in the clash."
In addition to protesting the events of 9 April 2008, the association's leaders called for the absorption of the Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) ~ the GJMM's voluntary squad ~ into in the Army, para-military and police forces. "While Nepal ... had more than 5,000 Maoists jawans absorbed into the Army, similarly, the state government should form a package where the GLP members of the Morcha could be absorbed," said Col Allay.