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Morcha in police act ‘catch’ cop

Posted by Ramesh Khati on August 18, 2009

Roy (centre) at the media conference.

Roy (centre) at the media conference.

Darjeeling, Aug. 17(The Telegraph): Gorkhaland Personnel continue to check vehicles—despite the administration labelling the act illegal—with the uniformed youths today parading a constable in front of the media, who they claimed to have caught carrying marijuana, a banned substance.

Prem Kumar Roy, a state armed police (SAP) constable, “admitted” before the journalists that he was carrying ganja for his personal consumption and that the amount was not more than 200gm.

K.L. Tamta, the inspector-general of police, north Bengal, had earlier said the GLP had no constitutional right to check vehicles or individuals. “If the GLP is found checking vehicles, we will immediately book them for obstructing roads, wrongful confinement and extortion,” Tamta had said.

However, if the police decide, Roy can be booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and can be sentenced to a maximum punishment of six months in jail or fined Rs 10,000 or both.

But an officer of the Darjeeling Sadar police station where he was handed over said Roy had confessed out of fear. “He told us that he had admitted to carrying the ganja as he felt threatened.”

Roy had brought the ganja from his village in South Dinajpur and he was on his way to join the SAP camp in Darjeeling. “By mistake I took a taxi to Jorethang (in Sikkim). When I realised it, I took another taxi and was coming back to Darjeeling when this happened,” said Roy. The constable had gone home on a weeklong leave and was to join duty today.

“I had bought the ganjas for Rs 150 from my village. If you let me go, I will never ever smoke ganja in my life,” he said at the media conference called by the GLP, a special cell of volunteers raised by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, in a hotel near Chowrastha this evening. Roy was whisked away from there by the police, who had been informed by the GLP. Officers of the Darjeeling Sadar police station said “they were awaiting instructions from higher-ups”.

C.S. Tamang, the in-charge of the GLP unit patrolling the Sikkim-Bengal border, said the vehicle with Roy had been intercepted at Singla-Karabari bridge, 22km from here, around 10.30am.

“We found the ganja packets while frisking him. The policeman was not in his uniform but later we found his identity card and uniform in his luggage and we arrested him,” claimed Tamang.

Recently, when the GLP put on display the illicit liquor it had seized during its raids on vehicles, the district magistrate had made it clear that the outfit had no such authorisation. The DM had also said the seized goods would not be accepted by the excise department “as doing that would mean the government is putting a stamp of authorisation on the seizures”.

S.K. Rai, the joint secretary of the Morcha’s ex-serviceman association (Darjeeling unit), said: “The police do not allow us to work but they themselves move around carrying contraband. We now want an answer to this.”

While the superintendent of police of Darjeeling, D.P. Singh, said “he was unaware of the incident”, Tamta could not be contacted.


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