NAMCHI, December 29: In what could be termed as a rare incident in Sikkim, a group of people affiliated with the Sikkim Himali Rajya Parishad (SHRP) party clashed with the Namchi Police on December 26 at Kamrang, near Namchi.
It all began when a case was registered the same day at about 5 pm at Namchi Police Station on the complaint from SI Kinga Tshering Bhutia of the same police station. According to reports, the SI who was recruited for checking vehicles at Kamrang near Namchi College, discovered a vehicle bearing No-WB 74F/1883 and driven by one Pema Tshering Tamang without relevant document and challaned and seized the said vehicle under section 270 of Motor Vehicle Act 1958 and took the driver to the Police Station for detention.
Later, the owner of the vehicle Basant Kumar Rai restrained the vehicle forcefully and brought back to the spot along with 15-20 groups of persons in vehicles bearing No-SK-02-A/1656 (Gypsy) and SK-02-A/2117 (Alto) and refused to hand over the vehicle to the Police.
As the matter worsened, SP South GK Verma along with ASP South and other Police personnel arrived at the spot and tried to take both the culprit and the vehicle to the station when suddenly the group started pelting stones on the Police. However, the accused persons managed to escape as the Police failed to spot them in the darkness.
As a result of the clash, home guard Chandra Bahadur Pradhan was seriously injured. He was referred to Siliguri for further medical treatment today. The SP South suffered head injuries and a Constable Kewal Pradhan also faced minor injuries. Two vehicles were damaged, one belonging to the Thana and other belonging to the office of the SP.
Later the case was registered against Basant Kumar Rai, Pema Gyalpo Bhutia, Bharat Rai and others under Section 341/323/147/149/186/353 of the IPC and Section 3 of Prevention of Damaged to Public Property Act 1984 and 192/ 196/177 of Motor Vehicle Act 1988.
Apart from the two persons, Namchi police said other protestors were from outside Sikkim who challenged the Police under SHRP cover.
Sources inform that Basant Kumar Rai was formerly a member of Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) party and had recently joined SHRP along with his other friends.
Acting on a tip-off, the Rabong Police arrested Pema Gyalpo Bhutia, one of the accused yesterday evening at about 6pm. He was there to attend a wedding ceremony. Others are still absconding. However, some of the accused involved in the incident are expected to surrender themselves before the police soon.
With the arrest of Gyalpo, the situation in Namchi was tense in the late evening yesterday. People spread the news of SHRP supporters coming to the town in 20 vehicles to take out a rally. The Police team along with SP South, SDPO, SDM were in the town to ensure to take control of the situation.
Reacting to the clash, the SHRP chief, Dr. AD Subba has alleged that the clash between its supporters and Police was a pre-planned conspiracy of the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) party workers, mainly to disturb the good relation between the SHRP and the police. The meeting also condemned the incident, states a SHRP press release.
The party has also demanded Police probe into the incident.