Mamata Banerjee govt withdraws bulk of cases filed during 2017 Gorkhaland agitation
Telegraph | 21 November 2023
The Bengal government has withdrawn 323 out of 371 cases filed during the 2017 Gorkhaland agitation period, a status report filed by the government before the Supreme Court has revealed.
Sources said that the state government has stated that “considering the sentiments involved and the misinformation which led to the agitation, a conscious decision was taken to not continue prosecution of 323 out of 371 cases".
The Bengal government filed the status report in response to a writ petition filed by lawyer Bandana Rai, seeking a constitution of a judicial commission to examine alleged atrocities committed by the state police administration during the agitation.
“A hearing in this case has been scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) but we have sought an adjournment (of the hearing),” Rai told The Telegraph.
Sources said that 43 cases pertaining to the agitation are either pending or trial has been concluded.
Of the five cases taken up by the CID, one case has been withdrawn while a final report as true (FRT) has been submitted for the rest of the four cases.
“An FRT basically means that while the investigators state that the alleged incident did take place the accused is not liable for the offence,” said a lawyer.
Sources said that in the status report the Bengal government has stated that the protest continued despite the chief minister having clarified to the public that the state government had no intention to make Bengali a compulsory third language in the schools of the state.
The protest which was led by Bimal Gurung, the president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, on the language issue soon turned into a movement for the creation of a new state of Gorkhaland that was marked by a 104-day general strike.
During the protest, 13 activists were killed along with a sub-inspector and a civic volunteer. “The killings prompted Bandana Rai to file the case,” said a source.
“Cases pertaining to the death of the police personnel have, however, not been withdrawn,” said a source.
Sources said that the process of withdrawing the cases coincided with Gurung resurfacing in 2020 after being on the run for more than three years.
After resurfacing, Gurung joined hands with the ruling Trinamul and campaigned for the party in the 2021 Bengal Assembly.