Peace seems to be evading the hills and crisis taking an ugly turn without any apparent solution to the pervasive Gorkhaland crisis. As the indefinite strike enters its 81st day, an internal conflict in the GJM seems to have ripped apart the party’s relentless resolution to fight for an independent Gorkhaland.
In spite of last week’s meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ending on a happy note, with promises to grant a peaceful solution to the Gorkhaland crisis, some sharp discrepancies have emerged in the GJM leadership over the call for an indefinite shutdown.
Two of the senior leaders of GJM-Binay Tamang and Anita Thapa have been expelled from the party for “violating” the party rules and alleged anti-party activities, sources revealed.
This decision was taken by the GJM Supremo Bimal Gurung in a meeting convened by the central executive committee somewhere along the Darjeeling-Sikkim border.
GJM chief Bimal Gurung accused some of his party members of hobnobbing with the state government to foil their plans in mission towards a complete statehood.
Though the temporary lift of the shutdown brought a brief respite among the hill residents, it was not meant to last long when GJM President Bimal Gurung placed orders to resume shut down removing Tamang from the Chief Coordinator’s post ahead of the September 12 talks with the state government.
Meanwhile, the West Bengal police have issued a look out a notice for the GJM Supremo Bimal Gurung who is absconding and accused of several cases including the bombing of the Kalimpong police station which killed a civilian. A FIR has been filed against him under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
On the other hand, fresh protests were embarked in the hills with people pouring out on streets in support of their unflinching allegiance to the party chief Bimal Gurung, in Kurseong, Sonada, Rangan and Darjeeling and raising slogans against Binay Tamang and Anita Thapa, who called off the indefinite the indefinite strike. Slogans like ” We want Gorkhaland” and “Binay Tamang Murdabad ” echoed in the protests that flocked the streets.
Picketing has been intensified in the Gorkhaland march in the hills with the supporters distributing posters and leaflets in support of the shutdown.
Excluding pharmacies and hospitals all business institutions, schools, colleges, and shops remained closed in the hills, in protest of the reinforced demand for a separate Gorkhaland. The police and the paramilitary forces maintained strict vigil and patrolling round the clock to avoid any turmoil.
To step up the tension in the hills, West Bengal police had a tiff with Sikkim police over the search warrant of missing GJM chief Bimal Gurung. According to sources, Sikkim government has lent refuge to Gurung and the Sikkim police also detained some of the Bengal police personnel and filed a FIR against the Kalimpong SP over a murder. The Bengal administration is totally baffled with the “non-cooperation of Sikkim police and alleged that there is some “hidden agenda” of the Sikkim government in support of the Gorkhaland movement.
In spite of so much chaos in the making, the GJM Supremo didn’t rule out the possibility of the forthcoming talks on September 12th with the West Bengal government on the issue of independent statehood.