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1 Jul 2017

TMC slams Morcha for driver death - Youth killing barbaric: Deb

Minister Gautam Deb pays homage to the deceased truck driver at Siliguri
District Hospital on Friday
Avijit Sinha and Bireswar Banerjee, TT, Siliguri, June 30: The Trinamul Congress today picked up the death of a truck driver from the hills after he was set on fire along with his vehicle in a bid to corner the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha that was accused of carrying out the attack.
Trinamul leaders, including tourism minister Gautam Deb, today took part in the funeral procession and the last rites of Aniket Chhetri who was cremated at the municipal crematorium on the bank of the Mahananda river here.
Chhetri, 18, a resident of Teesta Valley near Darjeeling, had succumbed to the burns at the SSKM Hospital in Calcutta yesterday.
The body was brought from Calcutta to Bagdogra by air today and then taken in a hearse to Siliguri District Hospital. The funeral procession started from the hospital.
"A vibrant youth who had to work as a truck driver to run his family was set on fire by bandh supporters in the hills, along with the vehicle. It was a barbaric attack and such incidents do not happen in the civilised world. We believe police will take appropriate steps against those who were involved in this heinous crime," the minister said.
Another Trinamul leader who didn't want to be named squarely blamed the Morcha for Chhetri's murder.
"Chhetri's death clearly shows that Morcha leaders are least bothered about the safety and security of common people in the hills. On one hand, the Morcha is claiming it has resumed the statehood movement in the interest of hill people. But on the other, bandh supporters killed a hill youth," he said.
Political observers said the ruling party of the state had raised the truck driver's death to drive home the point that the Morcha did not care about the hill people, for whom the hill outfit claimed to be fighting.
"Till now, Trinamul had flagged only the inconveniences faced by common people in the hills because of the violence in the ongoing movement spearheaded by the Morcha. Chhetri's murder has handed Trinamul a new weapon to attack the Morcha. The ruling party which was on back foot of late will strive to spread the message in the hills that the Morcha's activities are detrimental to the interest of the hill people," said an observer.
DGP Surajit Kar Purkayastha announced at Nabanna that the state government would provide compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of Chhetri and a job to a member of his family.
Chhetri is the fourth person to die in the current agitation. On June 17, three youths, whom the Morcha claims to be its members, had died in violence at Singamari in Darjeeling. The Morcha had alleged that the trio had died in police firing.
Rajen Mukhia, the president of the Darjeeling district (hill) Trinamul, today asked the Morcha to refrain from violence.
"So far, 12 houses of Trinamul supporters have been torched and another 11 homes have been ransacked in the hills. They all, along with other Trinamul members, came downhill and are staying in Siliguri. We don't think that by setting houses of common people on fire, the Morcha can achieve the statehood," said Mukhia.
Binny Sharma, the spokesman for Trinamul's hill unit, said there was a stark contrast between the remarks of Morcha leaders and the activities of party workers.
"Morcha leaders are reiterating that they are organising a democratic movement whereas cadres are indulging in arson everyday. They had even set on fire a youth who unfortunately died yesterday," said Sharma.
(Source & Courtesy: https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170701/jsp/siliguri/story_159596.jsp)

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