The convoy of former CM Pawan Kumar Chamling and his party, the Sikkim Democratic Front, was pelted with stones on Monday

Gangtok: The convoy of former Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling and his party, the Sikkim Democratic Front, was pelted with stones in various locations in the Namchi district on Monday.

The following day, the SDF questioned the Sikkim Police for not deploying sufficient forces to handle the situation.

Addressing the media at party headquarters in Gangtok on Tuesday, SDF spokesperson JB Darnal stated that there were two constables for the Sikkim Bachau Abhiyan of SDF.

He said the attack had occurred at Denchung turn near Namchi around 10 am the previous day. “The convoy was held up for several hours and journalists were also among those targeted. Despite the incident taking place in their area, the Police Inspector, Station House Officer, and Namchi Superintendent of Police refused to take responsibility, stating that the location fell under the jurisdiction of Jorethang Police Station rather than Namchi PS,” Darnal said.

Darnal argued that more force should have been deployed during the incident, but claimed that he was brushed off by the police with the excuse of “not enough manpower.”

He went on to say, “Does the law function differently if the people are wearing certain colours, carrying the ruling party’s flag? In such a scenario, Sikkim Police is allowing for the growth of crime and the promotion of terrorism in the state.”

“This is not the first incident and we are certain it won’t be the last attack from SKM. However, we will not be deterred. Scolding the administration and the Sikkim Police will not accomplish anything. It was the responsibility of the authorities to maintain law and order. The attackers were seen carrying SKM flags and weapons, indicating that they had come with the intent to kill Chamling,” a leader from SDF stated.

An FIR was filed at the Jorethang Police Station against one Padam Pradhan for the violent incident in Bhanjyang under Namchi district. Pradhan was arrested and later released. However, the SDF claims that their complaint has yet to be registered at the Namchi Police Station. Those detained were charged with IPC sections 279, 336, and 427. After a medical examination, they were allowed to return home. In response, SKM also filed a counter FIR with similar claims of stone pelting by SDF party cadres.

Highlighting previous incidents and the different IPC sections enforced against SDF party workers, Darnal questioned, “Is there a different set of penal codes or differentiation in IPC for SKM or SDF in the district? We are sure that, as has happened in the past, the administration will arrest us, even though we are the victims. 17 members of SDF were injured and 12 vehicles were damaged. As many as three to four individuals are missing.”

The SDF claims that SKM had a convoy of 40 vehicles and 400 people to attack them.

“Demanding President’s rule in Sikkim, the SDF’s Darnal stated, “With such cases of violence and the closing of NH 10, it is safe to say Sikkim has Jungle Raj. Therefore, we demand President’s rule in Sikkim. We demand a fair trial for those involved in the violence. We will take the issue to the central government. We have asked for this in the past as part of democracy, and if nothing happens, we will take the matter to the public. Where can we take the matter if not with the government? When a person of the stature of Chamling is attacked, imagine the fear among the public. When the government is scared of Chamling’s visit, it makes conspiracy and uses violence to destroy us.”

Namchi Superintendent of Police Manish Kumar Verma stated that upon receiving reports of clashes in certain areas, appropriate action was taken to maintain peace and order at the scene of the incident on Monday.

The assembly constituency of Poklok-Kamrang, represented by Sikkim’s chief minister Prem Singh Golay, was the location of the clashes. Chamling had won the seat in the 2019 Assembly election but gave it up after choosing to keep his seat in the neighbouring constituency of Namchi-Singhithang.

Also Read | Workers of SKM, SDF clash in Sikkim CM’s constituency

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