Monday, August 4, 2014

Lathicharge could have been avoided says one-man committee report VISHNU NEOPANEY

GANGTOK, 03 Aug: The one-man committee of CT Wangdi, Secretary Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department, appointed by the State government to enquire into the incidents of 14 July [between students and the Sikkim Police at Sikkim Government College, Tadong] has reportedly deduced that the lathicharge could have been avoided if the district administration had been more efficient in taking decisions at the right time to deal with the situation. The committee submitted its 36-page report to the Chief Secretary on Saturday, 02 August, afternoon.
Sources inform that the report has not fixed any individual responsibility on officials and has left it to the government to take appropriate action against the officers as per the findings of the report.
The one-man committee, it is informed, has pointed out that “immaturity” of the district officers in handling the situation was one of the main reasons that led to the lathicharge. The student demand for reconsideration of the fee hike was justified and they had even informed the police administration that they were ready to disperse by 6 PM on the evening of 14 July, the report records, sources inform.
It is further learned that only one student injured in the police action deposed before the committee. This student was reportedly caught in the police action when he had come there for admission. Interestingly, no other students injured in the police action appeared before the committee. Neither did parents of the students or any eye witness, the report states.
The committee examined around 70 persons, including students, police officers and personnel deployed at the spot.
Sources inform that while deposing before the Committee, the police has argued that Supreme Court directives clearly state that no one is allowed to block the National Highway and that the students also violated the state government rules by entering into MG Marg for a dharna. They further contended that a “mild” lathicharge was used [on 14 July] to disperse the students who had blocked the National Highway.

When contacted, Chief Secretary R Ongmu confirmed that the one-man Committee has submitted its report and that this would accordingly be forwarded to the government for appropriate action. When asked to comment on the contents of the report, she said that she has not seen the report and was hence unaware of the recommendations made in it.

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