Wednesday, October 03, 2007

14 monks among 38 arrested

GANGTOK, Oct. 2: Thirty-eight persons, including 14 monks, agitating under the banner of Concern Lepchas of Sikkim were arrested today when they brought out a rally to protest against the upcoming power stations at Dzongu in North Sikkim. Tension broke out when police and authorities pleaded them to remove the banners and placards they were carrying in support of the Affected Citizens of Teesta, which had earlier launched a hunger strike against the upcoming projects.A tussle broke out between the monks and the police as themonks refused to remove the placards and banners. The rally comprised members from CLOS, Sikkim Association for Environment, Sangha of Dzongu, including monks from Dzongu. The monks at the front of the rally were blocked by the police and state authorities even as they tried to make their way towards the Gandhi statue at MG Marg in Gangtok to offer Khadas (traditional scarf) and garlands, which was part of their agitation programme. "What and where is democracy if we are not allowed to hold a peace rally on Mahatma Gandhi's birthday," questioned the agitators. The police managed to bring the commotion under control by arresting 38 of the agitators. "No rally is allowed on MG Marg in Gangtok as it creates public inconvenience," explained Mr Vishal Chauhan DC East. "Government permission is compulsory for any procession or rally within the town area but they did not have any," he added. "They were just creating public nuisance as panchayat elections are round the corner. Although we pleaded with them they ignored our request and we had to apprehend them ultimately," said Mr MS Tuli, SP East. "They have just been detained and would be released after 24 hours," he added. The president of CLOS, Mr Gyatso Lepcha, however said, the main idea behind organising the rally was to endorse the Gandhian theory of peace but the police and other authorities stopped us. "Even the UNO recognises the day as Non-violence Day but the police here shamefully resorted to aggression against us," he added. A Gandhi photograph got torn during the tussle between the police and the agitators, which drew flak form the CLOS activists. "The police have insulted Gandhi on his birthday," the CLOS president alleged. The arrested persons were booked under 151 CRPC, which is basically detention against creating public nuisance.