Other States

Hunt for Gurung kicks off inter-State row

The hunt for Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung has triggered a showdown between West Bengal and Sikkim.

Late on Friday evening, West Bengal police launched a raid at Namchi in Sikkim and arrested six people. One person was allegedly killed in Sadam area near Namchi allegedly in the police action.

Pratap Pradhan, SP, Sikkim South, said a murder case had been registered in connection with the death. The West Bengal police neither had arrest nor search warrants and had not even intimated the Sikkim police about the raids, he said.

Bail granted

The raid came within hours of the West Bengal police issuing a look-out notice against Mr. Gurung, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri and youth wing president Prakash Gurung. However, Mr. Gurung and his associates managed to give police the slip.

The West Bengal police could not bring those they had arrested in Sikkim back to the State either. “We had applied for transit remand of the accused but they were granted bail by a court in Sikkim,” Manoj Verma, IG, Darjeeling, said.

The development triggered war of words between the political leadership of both the States. West Bengal Tourism Minister Gautam Deb, who is also president of the Darjeeling District Trinamool Congress, accused Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling of trying to “give protection to Bimal Gurung”.

“It is unfortunate that our neighbouring State is protecting those against whom cases have been lodged under serious Section like UAPA [Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act],” Mr. Deb said.

‘Don’t bully Sikkim’

The Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), the ruling party in Sikkim, also came out with a press statement condemning the action of the West Bengal police and welcoming the move of the Sikkim Police.

“Sikkim is a peaceful State where there are hardly any incidents of violence. It is not the way West Bengal police should behave. West Bengal government should not try to bully Sikkim,” P.D. Rai, SDF MP, said.

This is not the first time when differences between two States have come out in open. Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling had written a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in June 2017 putting his weight behind the demand of separate State of Gorkhaland which is being raised by the GJM.

The Trinamool Congress leadership then had come out against the move asking the neighbouring State not to meddle in the affairs of West Bengal.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 1:59:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/raid-on-gurungs-sikkim-hideout-sparks-row/article19611643.ece

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