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Bengal govt secretly identifying land in Darjeeling to house those excluded from Assam’s NRC, alleges GJM leader Bimal Gurung

Gurung’s statement is being seen as an attempt to seek relevance as TMC seeks to wrest the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat from the BJP, which won in 2014 because of GJM’s support.

india Updated: Aug 06, 2018 07:20 IST
Pramod Giri
Pramod Giri
Hindustan Times, Siliguri
Assam’s NRC,TMC govt,Mamata Banerjee to house those not in Assam's NRC
Fugitive Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Bimal Gurung has accused West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government of “secretly identifying” land in Darjeeling to accommodate people excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.(PTI File Photo)

Fugitive Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Bimal Gurung has accused West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government of “secretly identifying” land in Darjeeling to accommodate people excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.

“Settling illegal Bangladeshis, who have been excluded from NRC in Assam, creates a national security threat,” warned Gurung, a former Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) chief executive, in a statement issued from his hideout late on Saturday.

Anit Thapa, a leader of rival Binoy Tamang-led GJM faction and GTA vice-chairman, accused Gurung of misleading the people. He said Gurung been away from the Darjeeling hills for over a year just to save his life. “He has left people to suffer. More importantly, after himself being involved in subversive activities, he has no right to talk about national security. He is trying to mislead the people of the hills.”

TMC’s Darjeeling district (hills) president and Mirik municipality chairman L B Rai dismissed Gurung’s allegations as totally baseless. “He is unnecessarily trying to make things murkier.”

The Tamang faction has echoed chief minister Banerjee’s allegations that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union government was trying to create turmoil through the NRC. According to it, nearly one lakh Gorkhas have been excluded from the NRC.

Gurung has been on the run since he was booked under the anti-terror law, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, for violence during the last round of agitation for statehood that rocked Darjeeling in June last year.

The GJM split following a three-month-long bandh for the statehood demand. The Tamang faction took control of the party’s larger section and is currently running the GTA, a semi-autonomous administrative body, with the state government’s backing.

Gurung’s statement is being seen as an attempt to seek relevance as TMC seeks to wrest the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat from the BJP, which won in 2014 because of GJM’s support.

GJM’s pro-BJP Gurung faction has dominated politics in Darjeeling since 2008.

First Published: Aug 05, 2018 23:26 IST