Cooch Behar fast off

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  • Published 9.06.08

Cooch Behar, June 9: Members of the Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party withdrew their fast-unto-death this afternoon after talks with the district magistrate and other senior officials.

They had launched the agitation outside the Cooch Behar district magistrate’s office on June 5 demanding the unconditional release of their leader, Bangshibadan Barman, and 55 party followers, who are in jail.

The 56 men were arrested for their role in the violence that erupted around a meeting of the Greater Cooch Behar People’s Association in Chakchaka on September 20, 2005. Three policemen had been lynched on that day, while two supporters of the outfit had died in police firing.

The zonal secretary of the party, Phanindranath Barman, today said district magistrate Rajesh Kumar Sinha had told them that since the matter was sub-judice, he could not release the arrested men on his own. “But Sinha assured us that he would look into the complaints of harassment of our supporters and sympathisers in the hands of police and the CPM,” Phanindranath added.

The withdrawal of the indefinite hunger strike will come as a relief to the police and the administration. On the first day, 101 people had taken part in the fast. From then on, 50 people joined the movement every day. Fifteen participants had to be admitted to the district hospital.