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Assam arms haul case: Trinamool demands speedy investigation

Darjeeling:  Turning the heat on Gorkha Janmukti Morchha, the hill unit of the Trinamool Congress on Friday submitted a deputation to the Darjeeling district police superintendent seeking a speedy investigation into the recent arms haul case in Assam in which a GJM leader was suspected to be involved. A 15-member hill Trinamool delegation led by president Rajen Mukhia met Darjeeling SP Akhilesh Chaturvedi at his office this afternoon. Afterwards, Mukhia said, “We want the arms haul case to be solved quickly and demand the police to speed up their investigation. Our deputation to the SP was in this regard.” Without pointing out at anyone in particular, the Trinamool president said those involved must be brought to book to ensure the existing peaceful atmosphere in the hills is not disturbed. “We are neither blaming nor framing the GJM. But nobody is above the law. Those involved must be arrested irrespective of party colours, including ours,” said Mukhia, stressing the police should not harass the innocent on the pretext of questioning them. He was referring to the November 17 raids in Patleybas on the houses of two persons. 

On November 8, the Assam police arrested two persons with a large cache of arms from Chirang district in the state. The consignment was reportedly meant for delivery to a political leader in Darjeeling. Following interrogation, one of the arrested was said to have named GJM leader Sanjay Thulung, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration sabhasad from Tukdah-Glenburn constituency as the person who was to receive the arms. The police subsequently raided Thulung’s house, but he remains untraceable. All this while, Trinamool had chosen to remain silent on the matter, with North Bengal Development Department minister Gautam Deb refraining from making any specific statements. “Anybody can be involved, we don’t know for sure. But why is this person (alluding to Thulung) on the run if he is innocent,” wondered Mukhia. Hill Trinamool general secretary Binny Sharma, however, was more assertive in his allegation regarding the arms haul incident. “GJM is trying to disrupt peace in the hills by involving itself in such illegal activities,” he said. “Why is the GJM keeping silent? The BJP and its Darjeeling MP is also not saying anything even though the issue brings to the fore national security concerns.” 

The SP confirmed he had received the memorandum of Trinamool and said every required legal course was being followed to get to the bottom of the case. “Our search for Thulung is ongoing. We have inputs of names of some other leaders, but we will first verify them,” he said. GJM leaders refused to be drawn into the affair, saying the party believes in democratic principles. “We have followed the democratic path since the party’s inception and will continue to do so to achieve our demands. Our party is not involved in any illegal activities and will always maintain peace in the hills,” said GJM assistant secretary Jyoti Kumar Rai. Earlier this week, the GJM had formed a five-member committee to investigate independently the Assam incident and the suspected involvement of one of its party leaders. It has also directed the three MLAs of the hills to take up the matter with the state government and the district administration in order to get out the facts. 

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