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23 Jun 2017

Police file murder FIR on Gurung

A Morcha rally in Darjeeling to seek Gorkhaland. Picture by Passang Yolmo
KINSUK BASU, TT, Darjeeling, June 22: Darjeeling police today lodged a suo motu FIR against Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung and his wife Asha in connection with the June 17 violence at Singamari, where three persons had died and 35 security personnel were injured.
Apart from Gurung and his wife, 25 others were booked for murder, attempt to murder, arson, rioting and criminal conspiracy.
The FIR was lodged by Saumyajit Roy, the officer in charge of Darjeeling Sadar police station.
"In the Singamari violence, bullets were fired, policemen were injured and three persons died. So, a criminal case has been drawn up against the Morcha leaders," said a senior officer of Darjeeling police. "The FIR sets the stage for a detailed probe. The final chargesheet will ascertain the exact role of each of the accused."
The Morcha has said the three persons killed in the violence - Sunil Rai, Bimal Sashankar and Mahesh Gurung - were its supporters and had died in police firing. The government maintains that the police did not open fire on the protesters on June 17.
Bimal Gurung
The Morcha chief, his wife, party general secretary Roshan Giri and 25 others were also booked in an attempt to murder case on June 9, a day after the hill outfit's supporters clashed with the police outside Gorkha Rangamancha Bhavan.
Gurung today told a news channel he was "not bothered" about the FIR and added that he had "immense faith" in the Centre over the statehood demand.
Sources in Darjeeling police said the probe against Gurung and the others would focus on three aspects.
First, where were the three bodies found on the afternoon of June 17, who had removed them and what the medical reports said about the nature of injuries. Second, the investigators would examine what prompted the protesters to burn police vehicles and third, what role the Morcha leaders had in the clash.
"No one from the police saw the three bodies. Even the media did not see anything. So, we need to know where the bodies were found," said another police officer. "A report from the chief medical officer of health of Darjeeling says five policemen had suffered bullet injuries. So, bullets were fired obviously."
Sources in the state home department told The Telegraph that today's FIR indicated that the Bengal government was in no mood to soften its stand on the Morcha leadership, which has been spearheading the indefinite strike since June 15.
While the police have not launched any major crackdown since the Singamari clash, the home department has sent over 90 officers from Calcutta police and specialised commandos for deployment in the hills.

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