Siliguri too tense for rally

Calcutta, April 23: The chief secretary of Bengal, Amit Kiran Deb, today told a visiting delegation of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha that the situation in Siliguri was “tense” and that it would not be proper for the government to allow them to hold a meeting there on April 27.
“On September 28 last year, there was large-scale violence in Siliguri and the army had to be deployed. Since then, things have not been in the right shape in Siliguri. That is why I told the Morcha that it would be difficult for the government to grant permission for the April 27 meeting,” said Deb after a meeting with the Morcha leaders at Writers’ Buildings today.
“Even then, I will have a talk with the final authority (read the chief minister) and then inform the Morcha tomorrow or the day after as to whether permission can be given.”
Rumours of hooliganism by supporters of Indian Idol 3 winner Prashant Tamang had led to street riots in Siliguri, police firing, army intervention and an indefinite curfew in September last year.
There’s no problem if the Morcha changes the venue to Birpara or Jalpaiguri, Deb added.
The Morcha leaders have also told the chief secretary that they want to hold a meeting in Calcutta on May 8 and 9.
“I told them that IPL matches would be held at that time and requested them to consider whether the date can be changed. But we don’t have a problem with their meeting in Calcutta,” said Deb
The party, which has revived the Gorkhaland demand in the hills, has voiced its dissatisfaction with the one-man inquiry commission of environment secretary M.L. Meena. The commission is probing allegations of police high-handedness during a rally of ex-servicemen in Siliguri on April 9. The Morcha wants a CBI inquiry or a probe by a retired judge.
Deb said he has asked the Morcha to wait for the inquiry report before voicing its demands.
Urban development and municipal affairs minister Asok Bhattacharya said the Morcha is creating “anarchy” in Siliguri and so there was no reason why they should be allowed to organise a meeting there.
Reacting to Bhattacharya’s allegations, the Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said it was the CPM, which had launched an attack on the ex-servicemen’s rally. “Our people have suffered for long. The people of Bengal have realised our suffering. The government must wake up to it now.” (The Telegraph)

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