(L to R): Nawaraj Gurung (SKM Social Media General Secretary), Political Secretary to the CM and SKM spokesperson Jacob Khaling, Confidential Secretary to CM Bikash Basnet Credit: EastMojo image

Gangtok: “There is nothing beneficial to SKM by attacking JB Darnal,” said Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) during a press conference on Tuesday, while rubbishing claims by Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) about SKM attacking its senior spokerperson.

Addressing the media, SKM spokesperson Jacob Khaling said, “SDF is putting the blame on SKM to safeguard their interest. SDF has been known for inciting violence in the state, they have stooped low on many occasions to politically assassinate people, sometimes their own for political mileage. The attack on Darnal was crafted by someone in SDF as there is nothing benefitting to SKM with the attack on such political tourists”, said Khaling.

Khaling was joined by party functionaries Bikash Basnet and Nawraj Gurung during the media address. Khaling asserted, “Pawan Kumar Chamling and the SDF have been known for resorting to such violence for political mileage, same was the case with Darnal. Chamling gave a statement that the attack happened in Deorali, while the attack on Darnal happened in Indira By Pass. It may be known here, that the place of crime is always one. Perhaps, Chamling, who could have orchestrated the alleged ‘attempt to murder’, had initially planned to kill Darnal in Deorali but later carried out the attack in Indira By Pass. There is no hand on the incident from SKM and they are merely blaming us for political mileage”.

Khaling drew comparisons from previous incidents of political violence in the state countering the stats presented by MK Subba, a day prior when he blamed SKM for the alleged attack. “They have made statements that the vehicle of Chamling had been attacked during the by polls in Poklok Kamrang constituency in October, 2019. Firstly, the election process was carried out under supervision of one of the best observers in the country under the Election Commission of India. Is SDF questioning the electoral process and people’s mandate when they raised such concerns of violence being used to win election? It also exhibits SDF’s own strategy over the years of using violence ahead of mandate to win elections previously. The Observer was brought in at the request of Chamling, so how can they question the same. Secondly, they bragged and made an exhibition out of the guarded vehicle used by Chamling during the election campaigning. We went to the crux of the matter and found that the vehicle has not been modified or bought during that time from anywhere in Sikkim or Siliguri. It was designed long before the alleged attacks happened and could have been kept as ready for exhibition in Ghurpisey”.

Elsewhere, SDF had claimed that attack was pre-planned and posted on social media on June 9, before the attack on June 12. SKM countered the same claiming they looked for such evidence all across the social media and found no post that made such threats. “Statements of Pravash Limboo do not mention that Darnal was being attacked anywhere, while the police is investigating the matter and they will come out with their report, which will clear the air on who was involved in the attack. Furthermore, such posts could have been deleted by SDF to avoid being tracked down”.

Khaling went on to accuse the SDF spokesperson of using Chamling’s words of violence. “Chamling had claimed that 3 lakh youths with their 6 lakh hands would attack all those favoring SKM, prior to the 2019 elections. SKM has raised its hands only for the good of the people, not for violence. They made a public parade of a dead body allegedly involved in a political assassination when they killed their own in 2014, it resulted in SKM losing the election. Now, these words of violence being spit by MK Subba are just words from Chamling. We have no belief in people like Subba and Darnal who are yet to complete 5 years in a party, they have been political tourists who have always sided with the party that loses. They have no principle and hop from SKM to SDF to Congress or BJP at their will in the time of election”.

On the much demanded investigation on Darnal’s attack, Khaling termed it as a police matter while also claiming, “If SDF is demanding an investigation on Darnal’s attack. Chamling must first clarify on the previous attack on Darnal in 2014 when he was attacked with a Khukhuri in 2014 in Nandu Gaon. Chamling has to answer that prior to calling for an investigation now”.

On the demand for President’s Rule in Sikkim, Khaling termed the same as “Joke of the year”, claiming, “SDF is trying to undermine the people’s mandate to oust SKM government using President’s Rule. If they feel that the incident of violence calls for a President’s Rule, they have the advocates to pursue the case; they can appeal to the Supreme Court of India and even write to the Prime Minister of India. Sikkim is a peaceful state in no need of President’s Rule, and when they do petition, they will be cross questioned for their judgment to call for President’s Rule in the state”.

On the status of Darnal, Khaling claimed that “the injuries to the skull and the ribs are all blatant lies and Darnal is not critical, surrounded by his family. He may have to fear his own party for his safety”.

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