Gangtok: A day after two police constables were suspended following furore on the illegal entry of five individuals from the Melli check-post in Sikkim on July 1, several activists, journalists and prominent citizens of the state have alleged that the junior police personnel were made a scapegoat for decisions taken by higher officials.
On July 1, five members of a family entered Sikkim from the Melli Check Post to attend a funeral in Jorethang, South Sikkim. The same has created a furore in the public domain with names of Sikkim chief secretary and Director General of Police to have been allegedly involved in the violation.
Gauri Shankar Gupta and four other members of her family including a child have been booked for under relevant provision of Disaster Management Act registered at Jorethang Police Station. They had reached the South Sikkim town from Siliguri, close to West Bengal, where Gupta’s father had expired on June 30.
Mita Zulca, a veteran journalist from Sikkim, took to social media to comment: “Whatever the excuses the top brass make, public is not going to accept the suspension of the juniors who would never take such a decision without orders from the top. A little bird told me that the idea being floated is that the junior officers did not understand the directions as it was made in Hindi or something like that. But what was the need to call from Gangtok in the first place. The officers posted there are well aware of the protocols. Let’s see what justification is finally given but ye public hai ye sab janti hai!.” (sic)
High court lawyer Jorgay Namka also took to social media and expressed his displeasure on the suspension of the two constables for illegally allowing people to enter the state and urged the two constables to speak up and reveal the truth.
He also said that if those two constables are found guilty, then both of them should be terminated for playing with the lives of the people of Sikkim.
Social activist Navin Kiran, during a live session at a local news portal, said that the two frontline warriors were only serving their duty risking their lives. He further raised questions and said: “The people who were allowed to enter the state illegally were let go at the discretion of the two police constables or were they just acting as per the order of higher-ups in the state police system?”
Earlier on Friday, while speaking with EastMojo, DIG (Range) Prawin Gurung asserted that the “suspension was not a punishment”.
“These two constables were on duty, wherever they may have got the orders, both legally or illegally, they must not have let the family enter Melli Check Post. A prima facie case has been registered and they have been suspended. Suspension is not a punishment, they are not declared as guilty, it happened under their watch so as a normal course of action, they have been suspended. Now the investigation is going on and the action was taken from the district level,” he said.
DIG Range assured that they would have a clear picture over the next two to three days. The station house officer at Melli Police Station has been ordered to submit an explanation to the investigating committee.
“There were four persons on duty on July 1, as per their shifts. Those two constables interacted with that group, who allowed their entry is a matter of investigation. The family has been registered in Melli check-post for their entry,” informed the DIG.
Every other information will be given by the investigating committee led by secretary coordination Rinzing Chewang Bhutia, said DIG Gurung.
“The committee may not reveal. Once the report is submitted then the matter could be made public, but that too depends on the findings. Perception of the public may be that a lower level official was suspended but for a clear inquiry without affecting the investigation, they were suspended. It is a precautionary measure so that they do not get involved in the case nor do they fabricate on the evidence,” informed Gurung.