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GJM to investigate into arms shipment from Assam to Darjeeling

Darjeeling :  Breaking its silence over the allegation that a large consignment of arms and ammunition was on its way from Assam to Darjeeling to a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader when it was intercepted by the police, the GJM on Wednesday set up a five-member committee to investigate the matter. GJM leaders also asserted that the party abhorred all kinds of violence. On November 8, Umesh Kami and Ganesh Chhetri were arrested in the Chirang district of Assam for carrying a large cache of arms and ammunition in their vehicle from Chirang district of Assam. Interrogation revealed that the consignment was being shipped to a “political leader” in Darjeeling. The seized weapons included an M16 rifle, two Baretta pistols, three .32 bore pistols, 300 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 80 rounds of AK-series rifles ammunition, 198 rounds of M16 ammunition and 60 rounds of .32 ammunition. 

Assisted by inputs from their Assam counterparts, the Darjeeling police last Sunday raided the residence of elected Gorkhaland Territorial Administration sabhasad Sanjay Thulung who is also the vice-president of the youth wing of the GJM. But Thulung had escaped by then and the police took his wife to the Darjeeling sadar police station for questioning. She was subsequently released but Thulung’s vehicle was seized. Without taking Thulung’s name, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri on Wednesday dwelt on the arrest incident and said: “The arrests took place all of a sudden. We do not know anything. However, we held a central committee meeting today and have formed a five member committee to investigate on our own the facts. They (committee members) will investigate in their own ways and it will not be correct to reveal their names now.” Sources said the names of some other “political leaders” besides Thulung figure in the list been prepared by the police. But senior police officials were tight lipped and declined to comment. “We acted on credible information and raided Thulung’s house but he could not be found. 

We are also receiving inputs of some other names, but we will first have to verify this information before taking any action,” said Darjeeling SP Akhilesh Chaturvedi. When asked about the possibility of a nexus between the duo arrested in Assam and some individuals from the Darjeeling hills apart from the GJM youth wing leader, the SP said, “That information too needs to be probed thoroughly to come to a safe conclusion.” The GJM general secretary said there was an attempt to malign the image of the party to sabotage the Gorkhakand statehood demand. “We believe in Gandhian principles. There is no place for violence in our party. Our party president has assured there would not be any more disturbances and bandhs in the hills and all activities related to the statehood demand would be concentrated in Delhi,” said Giri. As part of the statehood movement, the party will organise a dharna at the Jantar Mantar on December 18 and 19 followed by a public meeting at the Talkatora Stadium the next day. 

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