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HC rap for protesters
- Chief Justice asks top cop to oust demonstrators

Siliguri, Jan. 9: The Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, V.S. Sirpurkar, has written to the Bengal director general of police Anup Vohra, asking him to drive away the demonstrators from the main gate of the Jalpaiguri district court campus.

Though administrative sources confirmed the order, police officials refused to comment.

The high court move comes after 24 days of persistent demonstration by members of Circuit Bench O Sarbik Unnayan Dabi Aday Samannoy Committee, who blocked the gates of the Jalpaiguri district court, preventing judges and judicial magistrate from entering the campus.

Though aware of the Chief Justice’s letter, the demonstrators were unperturbed even today and said a general strike has been called in Jalpaiguri on January 16 to mobilise support for the demand. “Our sole demand is that the bench be set up here immediately. One year has passed after the temporary infrastructure was made ready, yet there had been no progress. Lackadaisical attitude forced us to launch such a movement,” said Kamal Krishna Banerjee, the secretary of the committee.

The protests have crippled the entire judiciary in the district since December 15 with judges being forced to hold courts at Kotwali police station and at the central jail in Jalpaiguri.

Apart from demonstrations, the committee members also staged protests and blockades in front of several government offices. “This will continue till January 11. We have also called a general strike in Jalpaiguri on January 16,” said Gautam Pal, a member of the committee.

District police officials said they were keeping a close watch. “We are making necessary arrangements to prevent trouble,” said Tapas Das, the Jalpaiguri additional superintendent of police.

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