The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Credential check on ‘outsiders’

Darjeeling, Feb. 11: The local samajs — organisations engaged in community service of Toongsoong, near here, have decided to make it mandatory for people coming from outside the town to register with the organisations.

The move comes after the family of an 8-year-old girl filed an FIR against a daily worker from Mungpoo, alleging that he had raped her five days ago. Though the medical report is yet to arrive, the man, who stays in a rented house at Daragaon, has been picked up for questioning. The samajs have requested the bar association not to take up his case.

The incident came to light yesterday when the family members noticed the girl’s discomfiture while walking. Following the disclosure, the samajs— there are around 10 in number decided to start a drive to verify the credentials of outsiders. The organisations are expected to liaison with the local police for the check.

“Of late, there has been a rise in crime. In fact, one Bijou Sark while returning from work was murdered here recently. The killers have not yet been identified. We now feel it is important to know the antecedents of people coming to stay here,” explained Tensing Kambachey, commissioner, Ward 14.

Toonsoong is one of the most populated areas in town and home to many migrant workers who are mostly from Nepal and Islampur in North Dinajpur. “It is the duty of every citizen to act responsible to ensure that the place they stay in is safe,” added Kambachey.

According to the representatives of the organisations — Jan Kalyan Samaj, Daragoan Samaj, Prabhat Sewa Samity, to name only a few — a landowner, who does not intimate the samaj about the antecedent of his tenant would have to shoulder responsibility if his tenant is a suspect in a crime.

L.B. Kumai, the deputy-superintendent of police (town), has lauded the effort. “Any decision, taken unanimously by residents for the well-being of an area should be welcomed,” said Kumai.

He added that though it is expected of every landlord to inform the police about his tenants and domestic helps, the practice is not in vogue much in this part of the country.

The Delhi government has made it mandatory for people owning houses in unauthorised colonies or slum and resettlement colonies to submit details of their tenants.

“As a result, we get a lot of inquiries from the Delhi police about people who have gone to work there,” said Kumai.

“Outsiders” who are currently staying in Toonsoong said they have no problem in registering with any samaj. “There should not be any objection if you have come with good intentions. Moreover, it will be a good platform for ‘outsiders’ to interact,” said Man Bahadur Thami, a daily labourer from Nepal.

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