Former Sikkim CM Nar Bahadur Bhandari goes underground
Four senior Opposition leaders in Sikkim -- Pradesh Youth Congress President Bharat Basnet, SSP leader J K Bhandari, former minister Sonam Tshering and Nepali-Bhutia-Lepcha (Nebula) leader Nima Lepcha -- were arrested on Monday while former chief minister and Sikkim Sangram Parishad supremo Nar Bahadur Bhandari allegedly went underground after they were charged with rioting at Paycong, 30 km from Gangtok on Sunday.
Both Basnet and J K Bhandari have been hospitalised with serious injuries.
Inspector General of Police K Pradhan said seven others were arrested and first information reports had also been lodged against the top brass of Opposition parties, including Nar Bahadur Bhandari, Sikkim Ekta Manch president and former state power secretary Laxmi Prashad Tewari, former minister Thukchuk Lachungpa and deposed deputy chief minister and Nebula president Phur Tshering Luckson.
State Finance Minister Ram Lepcha and Welfare and Parliamentary Affairs Minister K B Chamling were also assaulted by bandh supporters on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Sikkim Governor Chaudhary Randhir Singh has urged political leaders and the people in the state to maintain peace and harmony. He assured the people that the controversial Employment Exchange (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act, 1959, against which the protests were directed, would not be extended to the state.
The governor summoned the heads of various intelligence agencies to take stock of the law and order situation in the state arising out of the Opposition Joint Action Committee-sponsored statewide indefinite bandh.
The agencies said the police resorted to a lathi-charge, when JAC members violated prohibitory orders, took out a procession and threw stones at the security forces. Seven agitators and 13 security personnel sustained minor injuries in the incident.
Chief Secretary K S Rao, Director General of Police P C Sharma and Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling also called on the governor in the evening to apprise him of the law and order situation.
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