The chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW), Rekha Sharma, on Tuesday slammed the police and the administration and said that there was no democracy in the Hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong.
Ms Sharma is in the Hills on a four-day trip, during which she met women affected by last year’s Gorkhaland agitation. She is also scheduled to visit correctional homes, where some women arrested during the agitation are “still languishing,” while she will talk with the people the alleged police atrocities during the agitation.
“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,” Ms Sharma said as she wrapped up her visit here on Tuesday.
She further promised that she would forward the complaints she has collected during her visit to the hills to the central government and the Indian President. Several women met her on Tuesday at a hotel near the District Magistrate’s office.
Ms Sharma also talked about how Darjeeling District Magistrate (Joyoshi Dasgupta) initially refused to meet her, but she met her later after her Tweets went viral on social networking sites. “The DM Darjeeling had no answers to my questions. Though she was trying to answer, I was not satisfied,” Ms Sharma claimed.
“Major police atrocities had taken place here, and I will definitely make a point to send these complaints to the central government and the President of India, so that they do something about it,” she added.
“If one Inspector-in-charge is abusing women with a rape threat, Mamta Ji (chief minister Mamata Banerjee) should conduct a thorough probe,” Ms Sharma said. She also appealed to Miss Banerjee to visit the Hills and meet the complainants.
“I hope her heart melts after listening to the heart-wrenching stories of the women from the Hills, and maybe, she would want to do something on her own after that,” she said, adding that if this (Hills) is a part of West Bengal, “then this part should not be cut-off in this manner.”
Meanwhile, around 40 odd women representing the Nari Morcha, the women’s wing of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha, protested the NCW chairperson’s visit and demonstrated with placards for 15 minutes here on Tuesday.
The coordinator of the district committee of the Morcha, Kalpana Tamang, said their protest was against Ms Sharma not showing up here when the Hills need her during the agitation earlier.
“It is very late to inquire about women’s problems now. Why didn’t she visit us when we were wounded? There were many women who were lathi-charged and many were displaced. Now we are at peace and our wounds are healing,” Ms Tamang said.