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20 Jun 2017

Harka guards withdrawn

VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Darjeeling, June 19: The Bengal government has withdrawn the two guards of former MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri and transferred several police and GTA officers in the hills.
"My two guards have not been reporting for duty for the past two days though I have not been told anything about the withdrawal officially. About three months back, the policemen posted at my residence were withdrawn and my escort was removed two months ago," said Chhetri.
Chhetri is the president of the Jana Andolan Party, which was in alliance with Trinamul in the Assembly elections last year. The party, however, refused to join hands with Trinamul for the municipality elections in May.
Chhetri, who has voiced support for Gorkhaland, has also said he would participate in the joint movement for statehood if the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha withdrew from the GTA agreement.
Last week, he led a JAP rally in support of Gorkhaland and held aloft a poster saying "I support Gorkhaland, arrest me".
"I had never asked for security. When I resigned from the party (Morcha), the state had posted guards at my house and I was provided with a police escort. It looks like that since I am not toeing their line, I should not be protected. I am not much bothered about this," said Chhetri.
The government also transferred a number of police officers and members of the GTA.
"From the GTA, which is under the Morcha's control, the government has transferred an executive director, a joint director and an officer on special duty to the chief of GTA (Bimal Gurung) - all of whom are WBCS (executive) cadres - and the secretary of the administrative body. The state has also replaced the principal secretary of the GTA, who is also an IAS officer. The shuffle took place after June 8 (when the current spell of turmoil started in the hills)," said an official.
After the June 8 violence, Gurung's escort of seven policemen was also withdrawn.
"The seven police personnel posted in Darjeeling as part of Gurung's personal security were transferred to West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia," said another official.
The Darjeeling police chief was replaced after the June 8 violence and so was the deputy superintendent of police in charge of district intelligence branch.
"The inspector in charge (IC) of Kalimpong police station was transferred to Murshidabad, while the IC of Kurseong police station was sent to Siliguri," added the source.
"The message to the officials is clear. If the government feels that the officials are not working in sync with the state, they would be immediately transferred," said an observer.

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