Kalimpong, Oct. 26: The GNLF today said the killing of its activist Yonsingh Lepcha reflected badly on the state government.
The party had called a 24-hour bandh in the subdivision today to protest against the murder. “There wasn’t any untoward incident. Traffic on NH31A (the road that connects Siliguri to Sikkim) was not affected,” said Rajesh Subarna, superintendent of police, Darjeeling.
The unit president of the Kalimpong GNLF, Dawa Pakhrin, said it struck him strange that a handful of men could operate so freely despite the presence of state machinery in the hills. “It is the duty of the state to protect the ordinary citizens and in this case it has failed miserably. The government should hand over the home department to the DGHC and we will show them how to go about it,” said Pakhrin.
The GNLF leader reiterated that if police fail to arrest the killers by November 15, the GNLF will be forced to take matters in its own hands. “It is not the duty of the party to maintain law and order, but I will be the first person to go to the jungles if a handful of people are allowed to get away with murder,” he said.
Asked what could be the possible strength of the UGRA, which the police believe is behind the killing of Lepcha, Pakhrin said there are only a handful of people. “Take away Ajay Dahal, Rudra Acharya, Sukbahadur Subba and Milan Rai, and they will be left with no one,” he said.
The GNLF leader said it is the stepmotherly treatment of the state government towards the hills that has given rise to such tendencies. Pakhrin alleged that in the last couple of years, the state government had deprived the hills of two separate central funds of Rs 5 crore each for setting up an engineering college in Kalimpong. “Instead they gave a part of the money to Siliguri-Jalpaiguri Development Authority,” he said.
The police, in the mean time, are yet to make any arrest in connection with Lepcha’s murder.