SPs of Darjeeling and Kalimpong failed to appear before the visiting NCW team, led by chairperson Rekha Sharma, for reasons best known to them; instead, they sent their junior officers to attend the hearing. Credit: EastMojo image

Darjeeling: The National Commission for Women (NCW), which is looking into the human rights violations against women and children during the Gorkhaland agitation last year, has directed the Darjeeling and Kalimpong police to submit reports detailing ‘action taken’ on various complaints forwarded by the NCW, following a fact-finding committee visit to the region in April 2018.

The two-member NCW team led by chairperson Rekha Sharma had visited Siliguri, Mirik, Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong from April 15 to 18, 2018. During her visit, the NCW chairperson had alleged the district administrations from Darjeeling and Kalimpong of being ‘hostile and non-supportive” of the inquiry team members. At that time, both Darjeeling SP Akhilesh Chaturvedi and Kalimpong SP Ajit Kumar Yadav had missed the hearings held locally.

At the end of their visit, the NCW Chairperson had conducted a press conference, wherein she had alleged the police of playing a “brute negative role against women” and had stated, “After coming here, I don’t think I am in India or an Independent India, and I don’t think police is for people’s help. Police here has been working as an agent and they are getting orders from somewhere else, and after hearing the stories (from women), I can say that there is no democracy in the hills.”

Following this, a report along with recommendations had been submitted to the President of India, and Union home minister Rajnath Singh.

In a followup to the report, the NCW had called the SPs of Darjeeling and Kalimpong to attend a hearing on September 7. However, both the SPs again failed to show up, and instead, sent their junior officers to attend the hearing.

In a press release issued here on Tuesday, the NCW said, “The SDPO Darjeeling appeared on behalf of SP, Darjeeling and stated that all the complaints forwarded by the commission has been submitted to DGP, West Bengal and after the approval through proper channel, report will be shared with the commission.”

Appearing before the Commission members, the DSP, Kalimpong stated that they have also submitted their compiled report to the DGP, West Bengal on the complaints forwarded by the Commission and will be shared through proper channel.

However, the NCW chairperson, in the press release, stated that she was not aware of the action taken by the police officials on the specific recommendations made by the NCW on the complaints.

The NCW chief further directed both the police officials to submit detailed reports on all complaints forwarded by the commission of their respective districts at the earliest.

The Darjeeling hills, and parts of Terai and Dooars region, had remained shut for 104 days from June to September last year, following the renewal of Gorkhaland demand by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). During the course of the agitation, 13 people were killed, and hundreds were arrested.

GJM president Bimal Gurung, along with its general secretary Roshan Giri, were absconding after multiple charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) were filed against them during that period.

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