iconimg Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Amitava Banerjee, Hindustan Times
Darjeeling, October 19, 2008
They came. they saw. and they conquered. It was as simple as that for the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) workers. As the district administration adopted a no-confrontation policy, GJM workers gleefully replaced West Bengal with Gorkhaland on all the signboards of the state government and Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council offices. It was virtually a cakewalk.

Though the GJM announced that Central government signboards would not be touched, in Kurseong, all the nationalised banks’ signboards carried Gorkhaland, instead of West Bengal. Earlier, Bimal Gurung said at the Mall, “This is our home rule. But do not touch Central government boards.”

In Darjeeling town, a ‘cultural rally’ was brought out on Saturday by the Singamari Tukvar and Lebong Valley units of the GJM. The rally culminated in a day-long cultural programme at the Mall.

And while the programme was on, GJM supporters went about replacing West Bengal with Gorkhaland in the town. Besides, shopkeepers were handed out pieces of paper with Gorkhaland printed on them and were asked to paste them on their signboards.

However, Surendra Gupta, district magistrate, said, “We will remove the boards which have forcefully been changed to Government of Gorkhaland. The police will take legal action. We are looking into the matter.”

But he was quick to confirm that the administration would follow the no- confrontation policy.

Rahul Srivastav, Darjeeling district police chief, said, “Legal action will be taken, but within the ambit of the no-confrontation policy. We have adequate security arrangements.”