GJM leader close to Bimal Gurung arrested under POCSO in Sikkim
- Lama was being considered as the GJM candidate for the Kalimpong assembly seat in the coming polls later this month.
Lopsang Lama (Yolmo), working president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha faction led by Bimal Gurung, has been arrested by the Sikkim police under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Lama runs a private school at Namchi in south Sikkim.
Pravin Gurung, deputy inspector general of Sikkim Police said, “Lama was arrested on Wednesday from Namchi. A complaint was lodged against him on Wednesday under the POCSO Act. He will be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours.”
The DIG did not divulge the details of the complaint.
After the arrest, Lama was admitted in a district hospital since his blood pressure shot up.
Lama was being considered as the GJM candidate for the Kalimpong assembly seat in the coming polls, party leaders, who described the arrest as a setback, said, “The arrest comes at a time when the GJM’s Gurung faction is struggling to rejuvenate its ranks in the Darjeeling hills.”
Gurung, as well as Benoy Tamang, leader of the other faction of the GJM, are supporting Mamata Banerjee though the two hill leaders are political rivals.
Gurung went into hiding in 2017 after he was charged under the anti-terror law by the state government because of the violence witnessed during the Gorkhaland stir. After coming out of hiding in October last year Gurung said he will no longer support the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which won the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat thrice since 2009 with his support. The Bengal government has started withdrawing the criminal charges against him.
Lama was at the helm of affairs in GJM when Gurung was on the run for almost three-and-a-half years. Lama was also the deputy chairman of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) for almost five years since 2012. He was elected to the GTA from the Rongo-Todaytangta area.
Roshan Giri, general secretary of the GJM (Gurung faction) said, “I cannot comment on his attest without knowing the details of the case.”
After Lama’s arrest, the Tamang faction targeted Gurung on social media. “The arrest is a big shock for the GJM (Gurung faction) before the assembly election,” said one of the posts.