An FIR filed by the CID has mentioned that 15 members of the Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP), a voluntary force raised by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), and some other people from the Darjeeling hills had undertaken four months' arms training with a militant outfit in Nagaland last year.
|Umesh Kami and Ganesh Chhetri being taken to the court in Darjeeling on Monday. Picture by Suman Tamang|
The FIR was filed at Runglee-Rungliot police station on December 6 in connection with the recovery of a rifle and some documents which mention armed struggle for Gorkhaland under the banner of the hitherto little known outfit called the Gorkha Liberation Army.
The seizure was made on December 6 from an isolated place at 27th Mile, about 45km from Darjeeling town, based on information gathered after questioning two persons arrested in Chirang district of Assam on November 8.
The duo were allegedly carrying arms and ammunition to Darjeeling.
The two, Umesh Kami who was allegedly member of the GLP, and Ganesh Chhetri, reportedly from the Northeast-based United Gorkha People's Organisation, were today produced before Biplab Roy, the chief judicial magistrate of Darjeeling. They were remanded in a day's judicial custody.
"After the CID came to know about their arrest in Assam, a team went to that state as an FIR naming the two was pending in connection with the recovery of arms from the Bhaktinagar area in Siliguri on January 30, 2014. The CID team took them into custody," said a court source.
"During interrogation, it was revealed that the arms (found at Bhaktinagar and 27th Mile) had been procured from Dimapur, Nagaland, from the NSCN (Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalim), a militant organisation. It was also revealed that 15 GLP members and other people from the Darjeeling hills had undergone an arms training in Nagaland with NSCN militants for four months since January 2013. The arms were being brought at the behest of Sanjay Thulung (a GTA Sabha member, who is absconding now)," said the court source quoting the CID's FIR.
The court source could not tell which faction of the NSCN trained them. The NSCN has three factions and all are banned.
The FIR also states that a consignment of arms was earlier brought to Darjeeling and kept in the house of one Sanjeev Gurung, a resident of Tukvar near here. "Sanjeev is also untraceable," said the source.
The FIR names 13 people, including Sanjay Thulung.
The other 12 are his brother, Bijay Rai Thulung, Umesh Kami, Ganesh Chhetri, Sanjay Chhetri, Raju Gurung, Sen Singh Gurung, Milan Subba, Manish Tamang, Mikki, Ram Singh Rai, Sanjeev Gurung and Rahul Chhetri.
The 13 accused have been booked under IPC sections dealing with criminal conspiracy, waging or attempting to wage war against the state, collecting arms with intent of waging a war and sedition, apart from Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act (illegal use of arms).
The court source, however, could not immediately tell whether any of the 13 accused had a GLP background.
"Since the (Assam) duo said they did not have a lawyer to defend themselves in the case nor the capacity to hire counsels, the court has appointed Rahul Sinha as the defence advocate in the case. The judge has also asked the investigating officer to produce a copy of the FIR and the documents (found at 27th Mile) in the court tomorrow. The court will hear our prayer for police remand of the duo tomorrow," said Pankaj Prasad, assistant public prosecutor.
The Runglee-Rungliot case, in connection with which Kami and Chhetri were produced in the court today, is being investigated by the District Intelligence Branch (DIB).
Prasad said the police would tomorrow seek 10 days' remand for the two.
Told that the FIR talked about the arms training by the 15 GLP members, Lt Col (retd) Ramesh Allay, who is the head of the GLP, said: "This is news for me, it is shocking. The GLP, however, has been defunct for a long time now. It exists only on paper, not physically. Earlier, too, the GLP was involved only in social work."
Asked when it was made defunct, Allay said "quite sometime back".