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Arrest fury leads to hill boycott

Darjeeling, Jan. 23: Most of the GTA Sabha members who had been jailed in the wake of the latest round of statehood movement and released on bail stayed away from all three events attended by Mamata Banerjee here in the past two days because they bore grudge against her, said sources close to the hill leaders.

Of the five freed GTA members, only Prava Chhetri was seen at one of the three events attended by the chief minister.

Binay Tamang, the executive member in-charge of information and culture department, did not even attend the commemoration of the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, though the event was organised by his department. Tamang and the three other freed GTA members cited prior commitments for their absence from the programmes.

However, sources close to some of these leaders admitted that they indeed bore grudge against the chief minister for her display of alleged highhandedness in getting them arrested on “trumped up charges”. “They hold Mamata personally responsible for their arrest and humiliation. Their wounds are still raw and they are in no mood to forget. Their absence is not only an expression of their deep sense of personal hurt but also collective anguish at the government’s attitude towards the hill people,” said a source.