NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma’s Darjeeling visit

Darjeeling: The sudden visit of the chairperson of the National Commission of Women, New Delhi, to Darjeeling to look into alleged atrocities committed against women during the Gorkhaland agitation in 2017, has sparked controversies.

Her arrival was met with protests, with the women’s wing of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) claiming that there is a conspiracy to disturb the peace and normalcy of the Hills. On the other hand, the chairperson tweeted that the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police were avoiding a meeting with her. On Monday evening, the DM had a meeting with the chairperson.

Rekha Sharma, the chairperson, arrived at Darjeeling on Sunday and will be leaving for Delhi on April 18. On Sunday evening, Gorkha Janmukti Nari Morcha leaders met the chairperson and presented a memorandum while supporters protested outside.

Placards stated that a few people with vested interests were using the Women’s Rights Commission to foment trouble and disturb peace in the Hills.

“Our question to the chairperson was, where was the commission when we required them when the 104-day-long bandh was clamped in 2017? We had approached many NGOs to get a Human Rights and Women’s Rights Commission to the Hills, but no one came. They left us to our sorry plight. Now that there is peace and normalcy in the Hills, why try to create unrest? A group of people from outside Darjeeling are chaperoning the chairperson around and presenting false cases. They have vested political interests,” alleged Prathibha Rai, Nari Morcha leader and chairperson, Darjeeling Municipality.

Bimal Gurung, who is on the run, sent an audio clip from an undisclosed location, welcoming the visit of the chairperson and criticised the protests against her visit.

5 Nari Morcha leaders, who had submitted a memorandum to the chairperson on Sunday, lodged a complaint with her through the DM on Monday, stating that one Puran Singh of Mirik, a supporter of Bimal Gurung, had outraged their modesty on a social networking site, using filthy language. They requested prompt action against him.

On Monday, the chairperson had tweeted that the DM and SP of Darjeeling were avoiding meeting her. “The administration is working overtime to stop victims and complainants from meeting me. I can imagine what must have happened in those 104 days,” tweeted Sharma.

On Monday evening, Joyoshi Das Gupta, District Magistrate, Darjeeling, met Sharma. “The chairperson has referred some cases requiring medical assistance for children of those killed during the unrest,” stated the DM. She even forwarded the complaint lodged by the Nari Morcha members. “The chairperson has stated that she would also look into this issue,” stated the DM.

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