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GLP to ‘police’ Sikkim border

Posted by Ramesh Khati on August 4, 2009

Darjeeling, Aug. 3: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has said it will “deploy” Gorkhaland Personnel along the Bengal-Sikkim border from tomorrow to curb illegal flow of liquor and timber between the two states.

Morcha president Bimal Gurung said at a news conference here this evening: “During the 1986 Gorkhaland agitation, the forest around Goke (about 30km from Darjeeling) was completely destroyed as timber was smuggled to Sikkim. Even today, timber worth Rs 2 lakh is transported illegally to the neighbouring state daily and we, along with the forest officers, will stop such activities.

“Illegal liquor of around Rs 50 lakh to Rs 60 lakh is also smuggled into the Gorkhaland area from Sikkim everyday. We will deploy the GLP at various points like Rangpo, Melli, Reshi, Singla and Munsong, all along the border area, to stop this inflow.”

The GLP is a special cell of volunteers raised by the Morcha. Each member gets a monthly salary of around Rs 1,500.

Rahul Srivastava, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling, could not be contacted for his comment on the GLP’s role.

The Morcha decision to use the GLP to curb “illegal activities” on the national highway seems to have been sparked by an incident in which a driver of the Sikkim Nationalised Transport had filed an FIR at Rangpo alleging that he had been beaten up by them. The FIR was filed on July 29.

The GLP has been patrolling the highway, the only road link to Sikkim, since the Morcha called a strike from July 13. The practice has continued since then and the GLP has claimed that it had confiscated drugs from vehicles plying to Sikkim.

“However, after the incident in which some GLP members allegedly beat up the SNT staff, certain people are trying to sour the relation between the people of Sikkim and Darjeeling. Even K.L. Tamta (the inspector general of north Bengal) is trying to stop us but we will not tolerate illegal activities and will continue to oppose them,” said Gurung.

The Rangpo incident had prompted the Morcha to carry out its own investigation. Colonel (retd) Ramesh Allay, head of the GLP, said after the “inquiry”, the driver was found to be at fault. “Our personnel had intercepted the vehicle as the driver was found in an intoxicated state. He also had some ganja in his possession and we have proof of it in the confiscated items,” said Allay.

“Moreover, the driver told the GLP that his name was Santosh Pradhan but when our people called up the assistant transport officer in Gangtok, we found that he was one Aitaraj Pradhan. We did not hand him over to police but informed the SNT officials about the incident. Later, he levelled the allegations that the GLP had beaten him up,” claimed Allay.

Source:The Telegraph


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