Gorkha leader’s alleged killers thrash co-actvists in court

January 2nd, 2009 - 9:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Siliguri (West Bengal), Jan 2 (IANS) Five Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) activists, accused of murdering Morcha leader Subodh Pradhan, were pulled out of the prison van and beaten up on the way to court Friday at West Bengal’s Kurseong town, the police said.”Five GJM supporters, who were arrested Thursday night for murdering Pradhan, were to be produced at the Kurseong court Friday. But as soon as the prison van entered the court premise, other party activists unlocked the vehicle door, pulled the men out and started beating them,” District Police Superintendent Rahul Srivastava told reporters.

“One out of the five men managed to escape after receiving a few punches, but the other four were seriously injured. They have been admitted to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital with fatal head, chest, abdominal and back injuries,” Srivastava said.

“The mob even broke the glass and window panes of the prison van and set the vehicle on fire,” he said.

Srivastava said a number of policemen present at court failed to control the mob.

“We were anticipating this kind of an incident and had even written to higher authorities for additional forces. But they did not respond,” the officer said.

GJM general secretary Roshan Giri, meanwhile, said the party activists didn’t murder Pradhan or attack the five men.

“GJM is a strong believer of non-violence. Neither did our activists murder Pradhan Wednesday night, nor did they attack the five men Friday. It’s the public who reacted and took law into their hands in both the cases. Nevertheless, we are investigating the matter,” Giri said.

Pradhan, GJM unit convenor of Pankhabari town, was stabbed to death and his six friends were beaten up allegedly by about 20 GJM supporters after an altercation at a guest house in Kurseong’s Rohini area Wednesday night.

Following the incident, Pradhan’s supporters ransacked the guest house and five other houses and set them ablaze Thursday. They even blockaded all roads at Kurseong and shut down all shops.

The GJM, led by Bimal Gurung, has been spearheading a movement in the hills for a separate state and also opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling.

The central government in 2005 announced the Sixth Schedule status to the GNLF-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), thereby ensuring greater autonomy to the governing body.

But Gurung’s breakaway group, which is opposed to the GNLF, is demanding full statehood.

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