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8 May 2017

Gurung seeks minister arrest

Gurung addresses a public meeting in Kurseong on Sunday.
Picture by Passang Yolmo
RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, Kalimpong, May 7: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung today demanded the arrest of Bengal minister Indranil Sen for his "unacceptable" comments against him and his party leaders and alleged that it was an attempt to disturb the peace in the hills.
Sen's remark that Morcha leaders should be packed in "32 steel trunks of 6ft length" has invited criticism from the GNLF and the Jana Andolan Party also.
Gurung wondered why the government was not acting on the FIR lodged by his party against Sen for telling his party supporters to send Morcha leaders packing from the Darjeeling hills in 6ft-long steel boxes after the May 14 civic polls.
"When cases can be filed against our people for small things like sticking posters, why is action not being taken against a minister who makes such statements? He should be arrested immediately. They should act on the FIR filed by us. But the intention of the Bengal government is not good. They can even kill and claim otherwise," he said here.
Addressing an election rally in Darjeeling on Friday, Sen, who is considered close to chief minister Mamata Banerjee, had said: "I have brought 32 steel trunks of 6ft length and ropes. Now it is your job, brothers and sisters. The elections are slated for May 14 and cast your votes for the TMC and the GNLF and pack Bimal Gurung, Roshan Giri and all their candidates and send them to another district. At that time, you will hear them singing Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (never say goodbye) from inside the trunks."
The Morcha president alleged that statements like that was an attempt to disturb the peace in the hills. "A conspiracy is being hatched to spoil the peaceful atmosphere in the hills. We must give a very strong response. I appeal to the people to give a befitting response to those people who come to our homes, kick us and even threaten to kill us on May 14," he said.
The four hill municipalities, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik, will go to polls on May 14.
The Morcha, Gurung said, will be lodging complaints with both the state and central governments against Sen. "We will write to the home minister and the prime minister on this issue. We are collecting footage and will submit it to the central government. We will also write to the chief minister...A lot of things are said in politics, but to say that they will kill and put the body in a box and dispose it off is not acceptable... If such things can be said against the GTA chief, imagine what fate awaits the ordinary people of the hills. This is something that needs to be understood," he said.
Sen's comments have also been condemned by other political parties, including Trinamul's ally GNLF.
It has also angered many ordinary people in the hills. Posters condemning his statement have been pasted across the hills even by organisations without any political leanings.
"What he spoke was wrong. We condemn it. For a responsible minister to come from Calcutta and speak in the manner he did betrays the mindset of his party. The entire hills are angry," said Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the president of the JAP.

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