Thursday, July 24, 2014

Students give one-man committee chance to deliver justice


GANGTOK, 23 July: A section of college students, the group which had dismissed the agreement with the State Government and even travelled down to Siliguri to announce their condemnation of the said agreement, announced today that their “movement” will continue until the victims of the police lathicharge of 14 July do not receive justice. They also highlighted that they will not be carrying out any agitation until the completion of the one-man committee’s enquiry into the police action. The committee is scheduled to complete its enquiry on 29 July. Should the committee’s report not be acceptable to them, the student group plans to resume its protest. They also reassured that should the protest resume, it will be peaceful.
This was announced during a press conference by the group of seven at Sikkim Government College, Tadong, shortly after they held a meeting with the college and HRDD authorities. The announcement is significant because the group had earlier rejected the one-man committee and demanded a committee of more members headed by a retired Judge.
As for their demand of action against the SP-East [since transferred] and the SHO Sadar Thana, the student group demanded that all action as prescribed by law should be initiated against them for their role in the lathicharge on students on 14 July. Transfer, they clarified, was not “sufficient” reprimand.
The press conference was addressed by Prakash Parajuli, Denka Bhutia, Binoy Pradhan, Raksha Gautam and Poonam Karki of SGC-Tadong and Pema Bhutia and Purung Gurung from Namchi Government College.
Addressing the press conference, they wanted the committee to work freely and peacefully and would facilitate this process. In this regard, they have invited all students who might have statements to give or evidence to share on the police action to meet the one-man committee during its scheduled sitting at SGC-Tadong on 26 and 28 July [from 10 AM to 4 PM].
“Our movement will end on the day when the lathicharge victims get justice and then we will announce the end of our agitation through a press conference,” they said.
The student protest, it may be recalled, had begun in relation to the hike in college fees. While this was rolled back on day-One of the protest itself, yesterday, the Chief Minister announced the abolition of fees altogether till graduation.
“We would also like to thank the CM for making education free in Sikkim but extend even more thanks to the students and people for supporting this movement which made this possible,” they expressed.
On the extension of school and college holidays till 01 August, they alleged that this was clearly an attempt to sabotage and weaken the students’ agitation for justice. The closure would also discourage and inconvenience students from approaching the one-man committee and sharing whatever evidence they might have, they added, apart from the extended holidays hampering education.
They have appealed that the HRDD reopen schools and colleges immediately.

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