Darjeeling unrest: Posters in Mirik trigger questions about militant turn

The posters carries threats to plant bombs at the residences of the political leaders who would betray the cause of Gorkhaland.

kolkata Updated: Sep 08, 2017 14:28 IST
Pramod Giri
Pramod Giri
Hindustan Times
Gorkhaland Liberation Army,Darjeeling,GJM
The GLA poster has triggered speculations about the new outfit Gorkhaland Liberation Army.(File Photo)

With the common people of Darjeeling hills crushed under a blanket shutdown that entered it 86th day on Friday, the sudden appearance of posters in Mirik has triggered questions on whether the agitation for Gorkhaland is about to take a militant turn.

The posters in the name of Gorkhaland Liberation Army (GLA), a hitherto unknown entity, has stated they are ready to go to any extent for the sake of a separate state. They appeared on Wednesday morning in Mirik.

Read: Darjeeling unrest: IED explosion rocks Mirik as shutdown enters 85th day

“We will not spare traitors, be it GNLF, JAP, TMC or GJM. We will bomb the house of any politician who attempts to compromise on Gorkhaland,” the posters that were written by hand in Nepalese read.

GJM chief Bimal Gurung has denied any knowledge of or connection with GLA. (Samir Jana)

GLA also took responsibility for the IED explosions that rocked Darjeeling hills in the past one month.

A few days ago a crude bomb was found in the balcony of the house of a TMC councillor of Mirik Municipality. Recently a civic police volunteer was killed in an IED blast at Kalimpong Police Station. Before the attack on the police station, a powerful bomb exploded at Darjeeling motor stand at midnight. On Wednesday night, a crude bomb exploded at PWD’s tourist shed in Mirik. The explosions raised questions and many wondered who could have triggered an explosion in the hills at midnight when the roads were completely empty.

Ironically, Mirik happens to be the town where Trinamool Congress posted a historic victory in the civic polls defeating Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in May. The TMC victory was the first by any party from the plains in the past few decades.

Read: Expelled GJM leader claims he told Bimal Gurung about bomb makers

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has publicly alleged that the agitators had links with insurgent groups of the North East and even groups in foreign countries.

Though government properties worth crores of rupees have been set on fire and vandalised since June 8, and 10 people have lost their lives -- most of them fell to bullets of the security forces -- overall the movement has been democratic so far. During the first phase of unrest between 1986 and 1988, about 1,200 lives were lost. Some splinter groups of GNLF took to arms.

Chattrey Subba formed the Gorkhaland Liberation Organisation (GLO) after he disassociated with Subash Ghising, the former GNLF president after the latter signed the tripartite accord that paved the way for the formation of semi autonomous development body, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council in August 1988. Its members took up weapons.

Read: Darjeeling unrest: Sharp shooters hired to kill him, alleges Binay Tamang

Later United Gorkha Revolutionary Army (UGRA) tried to spearhead the militant movement for Gorkhaland but failed soon.

“We are verifying if the poster is the handiwork of new outfit, or of those who are already making mischief in the hills,” said Siddhinath Gupta, additional director general of police.

After the Darjeeling and Kalimpong blasts police booked Bimal Gurung and a few GJM leaders under UA(P)A and they went underground.

Bimal Gurung the GJM president said “The GJM does not believe in violence and those involved in bomb blasts should be punished,” said GJM president Bimal Gurung, who is facing UA(P)A charges and is believed to be hiding somewhere in Sikkim.

First Published: Sep 08, 2017 14:28 IST