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24 Jun 2017

Gurung seeks CBI probe

KINSUK BASU and VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Darjeeling, June 23: Bimal Gurung today demanded a CBI probe into the June 17 violence at Singamari, saying he had video footage to prove that three purported Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters had died in a police firing.
The Morcha president's demand came a day after Darjeeling police had lodged a suo motu FIR against Gurung, his wife Asha, and several other party workers in connection with the Singamari riot. They were booked for murder, attempt to murder, and arson and violence among other charges.
Insiders in the state home department said the government was readying to hand over the probe to the CID even as Gurung called for a CBI probe. The CBI had filed a charge-sheet against Gurung and around 20 Morcha leaders in the 2010 Madan Tamang murder case.
"There should be a CBI inquiry into the Singamari violence. Our supporters didn't open fire on that day. We have footage that shows that police had opened fire," Gurung, who is now on bail in the Madan Tamang case, said.
The police have so far maintained that there was no firing from their end during the June 17 violence, in which six police vehicles were burnt down on Lebong Cart Road, barely 100m from the Singamari police outpost. Two police officers who were allegedly stabbed with khukris from behind are undergoing treatment at hospitals. The Darjeeling police's top brass claimed that a medical report by the district chief medical officer of health mentioned that some security personnel had also suffered bullet injuries.
"I would request the Centre, the district magistrate, the police superintendent and the government of West Bengal to take the responsibility of the violence that happened at Singamari. The inspector general of police had given the order to fire. We have even some of the fired cartridges," Gurung said.
The police said the FIR was aimed at starting a probe that would focus on where the three bodies were found on the fateful day, what does the medical reports say about the nature of their injuries and how the police personnel were injured.
"The idea is to find out the truth because there was no firing from our end. The chargesheet would clearly spell out the roles of the accused. If certain charges are not proved, they will be dropped," said a senior police officer.
Speaking from the Patlebas office of the Morcha that was raided on June 15, Gurung today questioned the search saying there was no warrant for the operation. "I am not a Maoist leader like Kishanji to merit such an organised police raid on our party office. I will fight for the three dead Morcha workers till my last breath. Government ko bhugna padega (the government will have to suffer)," he said. "I am right here. If you want to, please come and catch me."

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