The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tension as deadline nears
General secretary Bangshibadan Barman

Cooch Behar, Oct. 14: The assurance, based on which the leaders of Greater Cooch Behar People's Association withdrew their indefinite hunger strike on September 23, appears to have fallen flat, with the outfit having issued another ultimatum of sorts.

With chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's rally ' scheduled for September 24 ' drawing near, district magistrate Ravi Inder Singh had little option then, but to meet association general secretary Bangshibadan Barman and assure him that he would hold a meeting with the leaders of the outfit on October 15. Singh then requested the leaders to call off the fast.

But no letter or verbal summons has yet been received by Barman from the district magistrate's office. 'If they do not give the communication in writing, we will not go to the meeting. We will wait till tomorrow evening. After the 15th, we will decide on our course of action,' said Barman today.

Though the district magistrate could not be contacted, additional district magistrate Naba Kumar Mukherjee said so far he had not received any news about the meeting.

The association's show of strength had peaked on September 20, when thousands of supporters marched to the outskirts of Cooch Behar town and defied Section 144.

In the ensuing caning and police firing, two persons in the crowd were killed at Khagrabari. Soon after, mobs at Chakchaka beat up some policemen. Three personnel, including the additional superintendent of police, Kalimpong, died from injuries suffered in the attacks.

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