Gorkhatimes

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Gurung surrenders for threat speech – Morcha president gets bail in suo motu case filed by police before polls

Posted by Ramesh Khati on June 30, 2009

Darjeeling, June 29: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung today surrendered in the judicial magistrate’s court here in connection with an election speech that police had found inciting.

On March 30, Gurung while addressing a convention of party supporters at Gymkhana Hall had said: “Our Tibetan brothers have for long been voting blindly for the Congress, but all the hill people, including our Muslim brothers, should only think about Gorkhaland as this is their place too.”

In his “advice” to these communities, which The Telegraph had reported, Gurung had said his party would keep an eye on every vote during the election. At the same meeting, the Morcha president had “requested” former Congress Lok Sabha member Dawa Narbula not to file nominations for the general elections. The Morcha leader had earlier accused Narbula of not uttering a single word in support of Gorkhaland in Parliament.

While there were protests from the CPM in the plains against Gurung’s speeches, the Darjeeling Sadar police filed a suo motu case against him under Section 171F of the Indian Penal Code the same day.

Today, judicial magistrate Debjyoti Mukherjee granted bail to Gurung till August 24, the date for the next hearing. Gurung’s defence lawyer Dinesh Chandra Rai said the bail was granted on a bond and surety of Rs 500.

Gurung had arrived in court without any announcement and surrendered around 10.30am. His lawyer said the Morcha president was there till about noon, when the formalities were completed.

Section 171F deals with the “offence of undue influence of personation at an election”. Although the section is bailable, if found guilty one can be imprisoned for up to a year and fined or can face both penalties.

Senior police officers, refused comment on today’s development, saying that it was subjudice.

A day after the speech, municipal affairs minister Asok Bhattacharya had slammed the Morcha president and accused him of threatening voters a day after the speech. The Darjeeling CPM had also lodged complaints with the Election Commission of India, the National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Minorities soon after.

Today, Bhattacharya, did not have much to say. “I am hearing about the development from you. What can I say? Let the law take its own course,” Bhattacharya said.

Source: Telegraph Kolkata

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