Gurung still wields clout in Darjeeling hills


On Friday, it was evident that Gurung still wields control over the people of Darjeeling hills.

A day after GJM chief coordinator Binay Tamang announced that the indefinite shutdown will be withdrawn from Friday for 12 days, nothing changed since Friday morning.

GJM general secretary Roshan Giri had issued a statement late on Thursday night that Tamang was being removed as the party’s chief coordinator.

As the day progressed, several rallies were taken out across the region starting from Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong to several areas in the Terai and Dooars by GJM supporters, who vowed to continue with the shutdown, which entered the 81st day on Friday.

A source in the hills said security was beefed up around Tamang’s house in Darjeeling after some GJM supporters tried to barge inside in the morning during a procession.

Meanwhile, the police on Friday conducted a raid in a remote location near Matijhara close to the Bengal-Sikkim border, where they suspected that Gurung may hold a central committee meeting to chalk out his future course of action and also to formally expel Tamang from the party.

Though Gurung could not be traced, at least nine senior GJM functionaries were detained. Soon, the police issued a lookout notice.

The GJM supremo has already been charged under sections of the UAPA and Arms Act for his involvement in the Darjeeling blast case.

In an audio tape released on Friday, Gurung has accused a section of party leaders of helping the state administration and the police to intimidate him and force him to remain underground so that the movement loses its intensity without proper leadership.

“The leaders who participated in the talks with the state government have joined hands with the West Bengal government and the police to intimidate me and force me to go underground for more than a year in order to dilute the movement,” he said.

Questioning the utility of holding talks with the government, Gurung said, “Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said during the all-party meeting that the demand for Gorkhaland is not under her jurisdiction and refused to discuss the issue. What else should we discuss with her then?”

Security across the Darjeeling hills has been tightened further as Internet services remained suspended across the region.

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