Posted on August 9, 2008 by jytmkh
|From The Telegraph|
Darjeeling, Aug. 8: The 14 GNLF leaders arrested after the July 25 firing that killed a woman on Dr Zakir Hussain Road could not be produced in court today after supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha laid siege to the compound this morning.
The GNLF supporters have been booked under Section 302 of the IPC (for murder) and the Arms Act after a bullet fired allegedly from Deepak Gurung’s house killed Pramila Sharma, a Morcha activist. Gurung, the Darjeeling Branch Committee president of the GNLF, is one of those arrested.
Taking into consideration the sections under which they have been booked, chief judicial magistrate Niranjan Dey rejected a bail petition filed by three of the accused, N.K. Kumai, C.B. Subba and Tika Khati. The court, however, has asked the jail authorities to make adequate medical arrangements as the bail was moved citing health grounds.
Manik Saha, the assistant public prosecutor, said: “The jail authorities had prayed the 14 accused could not be produced in court… The next date of hearing has been fixed on August 22.”
Since early morning, hundreds of Morcha supporters mostly from Pokhriabong and Chungtung, the DGHC constituencies from where Gurung and A.R. Dewan (another arrested leader) were once elected, staged demonstrations in front of the court. The jail authorities decided against producing the accused in the court as the news trickled in that similar demonstrations were held in various other parts of the town as well.
Sources said they filed a petition (memo no 1103AB) stating that since there was not enough police force and that the case was “sensational at the present political context”, they were in no position to produce the accused.
Even though it is mandatory to produce the accused in court as and when directed, sources maintain that Sections 268 and 269 of CrPc 1973 allows for relaxation. The sections state that the officer in charge of the prison can abstain from carrying out the order under various conditions including “the likelihood of the disturbance of public order if the person is allowed to be removed from prison or the public interest generally”.
The Morcha lifted the gherao around 12.30pm after it became clear that the accused would not be produced in court today.