Darjeeling unrest: Gurung says GNLF, JAP can’t be trusted; hills unity under cloud
The GJM chief , however, later said he was misquoted by the media.india Updated: Jul 08, 2017 22:58 IST
In a first sign of fissure among hill parties that vowed to fight together for a separate Gorkhaland in an all-party meeting 10 days ago, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung on Thursday questioned the commitment of two parties for the movement.
Hitting out at the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), GJM chief said he could not trust a party that allied with the Trinamool Congress just a month ago for the civic polls.
The GNLF was formed in 1980 by Subhash Ghisingh, who first spearheaded the movement for creation of a separate Gorkhaland state comprising Nepali-speaking areas of northern West Bengal.
The front was among the six parties that resolved to jointly push for a separate Gorkhaland in an all-party meeting convened by the GJM in Darjeeling on June 13.
Gurung, speaking to some TV channels, also flayed chief of the Jan Andolan Party (JAP) Harka Bahadur Chettri. He referred to Chettri as “the leader of another party who is keen to fulfill his personal interest.”
Chettri was a former GJM MLA and a confidant of Gurung, who resigned from the Morcha in September 2015.
“There is no guarantee that these two parties would not ditch midway the issue of Gorkhaland,” Gurung said, adding “We have accepted their demand to resign from the GTA and with this ends the all-party exercise.”
Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) is a semi-autonomous administrative body headed by Gurung as its chief executive officer.
“Now we will shun GTA and fight for the one-point agenda, which is Gorkhaland... GJM members will resign from the GTA on Friday. On June 27, we will burn the copies of GTA Accord,” Gurung further said.
“There is no need for all-party meetings in the hills,” Gurung said in a statement that offended the parties that sunk their differences with the GJM for the Gorkhaland.
On Friday, Gurung said he was misquoted by the media. But the fissures were already visible and GNLF and JAP leaders reacted sharply to his statement.
“Bimal Gurung has been sold. This time we won’t allow him to sell the dream and aspiration of 1.5 crore Indian Gorkhas,” said GNLF spokesperson Niraj Zimba.
The GNLF is the second most powerful political entity in the hills after the GJM.
“We are in touch with all the political parties excluding GJM to spearhead the movement collectively,” said Bishal Rai, the JAP youth wing president.
Gurung’s statement even surprised many GJM leaders.
“I don’t know about the development and I need to know what Bimal Gurung has said,” GJM general secretary, Roshan Giri, who is camping in Delhi to lobby for Gorkhaland with the Centre, told HT on Thursday.
Two all-party meetings were held in the hills on June 13 and June 20, where all the hill parties, including BJP, endorsed a no-hold-barred agitation for Gorkhaland.
Gurung’s statement came at a time when the entire hills were seen rallying together to carry on the struggle for Gorkhaland.
Thousands have been hitting the roads even without the presence of any leader. People are organising rallies and meetings using social media platforms too.
Even Indian Gorkhas residing outside the country have been expressing their solidarity to the movement.
Pawan Chamling the Sikkim chief minister on June 20 wrote a letter to the union home minister Rajnath Singh requesting him to create a separate state of Gorkhaland.
The death of three Gorkhaland supporters on June 17 when security forces opened fire have infused new zeal to the Gorkhaland movement.
“Never in the past did Gorkhaland movement receive so overwhelming support. Bimal Gurung’s statement against this backdrop is unwarranted,” said Anupam Moktana, a political observer based in Mirik.