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Mamata to recruit club-wielding Gorkhaland volunteers as civic police; move may alienate Gurung

GLP cadres were supposed to maintain discipline during Gorkhaland movement and were one of the sources of GJM leader Bimal Gurung’s strength.

kolkata Updated: Feb 09, 2018 13:10 IST
Pramod Giri
Pramod Giri
Hindustan Times
Gorkhaland,Mamata Banerjee,Bimal Gurung
Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) was created by GJM chief Bimal Gurung in 2008. (HT File Photo)

Initiating a move that could further alienate Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Bimal Gurung, now a fugitive, Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced that her government would recruit Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) members as civic police volunteers.

GLP is the club-wielding force of volunteers that Gurung raised in 2008. It even had a brass band whose members used to wear colourful uniform.

GLP cadres were supposed to maintain discipline during Gorkhaland movement and they were one of the sources of GJM chief Bimal Gurung’s strength. Incidentally, three men arrested in connection with the death of police officer Amitava Malik on October 13, 2017 were GLP cadres.

Read: With demand for autonomy, GNLF tries to regain lost ground in Darjeeling

On Thursday Banerjee held a meeting with political parties, members of the board of administrators of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and the 15 development boards at Raj Bhawan in Darjeeling. She said her government has plans to recruit GLP members who have a clean background.

“We will try to recruit GLP members as civic police volunteers if they are not facing adverse reports,” Banerjee told the media in the presence of Binoy Tamang, chairman of GTA board of administrators and Maan Ghisingh, chairman of Hill Area Development Committee.

The GJM recruited at least 5,000 youths from the Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars. Police and intelligence agencies believe that a section of GLP cadres are still loyal to Gurung but the rest are looking for jobs.

Banerjee said there might be differences among hill political parties but they would all have to work together for peace and development. Both the Binay Tamang faction of the GJM and Maan Ghisingh, leader of the Gorkha National Liberation Front, assured Banerjee that they would carry forward development projects started by the government.

Read: Mamata accuses Sikkim of backing Gorkhaland stir, vows to establish state varsity in Darjeeling

Banerjee announced that an industrial meet would be held in Darjeeling in March.

Meanwhile, Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) has condemned Banerjee’s allegation that the neighbouring state was interfering in Darjeeling affairs. Bhim Dahal, the SDF spokesperson, said, “Banerjee should focus on fulfilling her responsibility and not run away from it by blaming Sikkim.”

Dahal said, “The agitation and unrest in Darjeeling hills originated from the hills itself and the Bengal chief minister is responsible under the constitution.”

Read: Virus attack, bandh leave sour taste for Darjeeling orange growers

“The demand for land in Darjeeling hills is more than one hundred years and people there have been agitating for the same. Many talks have taken place and agreements have been signed. All these are recorded in history and public domain,” added Dahal.

First Published: Feb 09, 2018 13:10 IST