Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia has requested Union home minister Rajnath Singh and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe an audio clip that is purportedly a telephonic conservation between a man, Achutam Bhattarai, of the Hills and Darjeeling police station inspector-in-charge (IC) Soumyajit Roy.
In the clip, the voice being claimed as that of the police officer threatens the man at the other end of torching his house. The man (allegedly Mr Roy) also threatens to “rape” the sister and mother of the man.
Also the Union minister of state for drinking water and sanitation, Mr Ahluwalia has also written to Union minister for women and child development, Maneka Gandhi, seeking her intervention in the bid to ‘outrage a woman’s modesty’ and send a team of the National Women Commission (NCW) to Darjeeling.
In his letters, Mr Ahluwalia has said that it was ‘blatant human rights abuse’ and that Mr Bhattarai was a Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) cadre.
“The IC is heard threatening the GJM activist with burning down his house and raping his mother and sister. The audio clip, which I have attached for your consideration, has left my constituents incensed, and I have received numerous calls and emails from them, requesting that the Government of India take up this matter with the Government of West Bengal at the earliest, and legal procedures be started against the police officer concerned immediately,” the letters read.
“Hence, given the confession (of torching houses) by the IC Darjeeling, caught on tape, it is imperative that all cases filed in relation with the Darjeeling bandh call in 2017, be investigated by an independent agency such as the NIA, since the local law enforcement agencies under the control of West Bengal government seem to be the ones perpetrating such acts.
.“On behalf of my constituents, I humbly request you to kindly order a NIA inquiry into the matter at the earliest, and to instruct the NIA to initiate a suo moto case against the Darjeeling IC Soumyajit Roy, and such police officials who are responsible for maintaining law and order, but instead seem to be spreading terror thus.
Such behaviour, attitude and acts by those expected to uphold the law and the constitution, has led to the people of Darjeeling losing their faith in the police, and it becomes incumbent upon the Government of India and the Government of West Bengal, to ensure the situation rectified immediately,” the letter written to the home minister reads.
Apart from the transcription of the purported conservation, Mr Ahluwalia has also enclosed with the letters a police complaint written by Shakuntala Bhattarai, M Bhattarai Chhetri and Rama Bhattarai–the family members of the GJMM man–to Darjeeling deputy superintendent of police, and other documents. Trinamul Congress leaders here, however, said Mr Ahluwalia was trying fish in troubled waters.
“The BJP has already lost its ground and the MP is advocating for fugitive GJMM leader Bimal Gurung, who has been booked under several charges, including the Uunlawful Activities Prevention Act. Mr Ahluwalia said he would visit the Hills in April, and before that he is trying to regain ground, but such efforts will not help him,” a senior party leader said.
Meanwhile, Gorkhaland activist and Delhi-based lawyer Bandana Rai said that she has filed a case against the police officer in question at the National Women’s Commission, and also written to the PM’s Office, Minister of state Jitendra Singh and the home minister.
“Irrespective of whatever is happening in Darjeeling, the agitation, the politics, we have told the commission that women are not safe in Darjeeling,” she said in a video clip posted on Youtube on Tuesday.