Massive Search Operation For GJM’s Bimal Gurung, Roshan Giri

A massive search operation was launched as the strike entered its 80th day. 14 GJM leaders have been arrested.

3 min read
Gorkhas stage a demonstration in Bengaluru to press for a separate state of Gorkhaland on 20 June 2017.

A massive search operation was launched on Saturday in Darjeeling hills, and adjoining areas for GJM supremo Bimal Gurung, even as the indefinite shutdown entered its 80th day.

A lookout notice had been issued against Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Chief Bimal Gurung, and party general secretary Roshan Giri by the police on Friday, because of their alleged involvement in various cases, including a bomb blast in Kalimpong police station, in which a civic volunteer was killed. 14 GJM leaders were arrested and 2 GJM activists killed in what was described as “accidental death” by the Kolkata Police.

This comes right after Giri announced the expulsion of GJM convener Binay Tamang and another member Anit Thapa for violating the party line after Tamang called for a temporary suspension of the strike in the hill town, following talks with the West Bengal government. Tamang asked for a suspension till the next round of dialogue that is to take place in North Bengal on 12 September. Questioning the decision, Tamang lashed out at Gurung and party general secretary Roshan Giri and said:

“I do not need to take lessons from them. I am a son of the soil and am fighting for the interests of my Gorkha brothers. I want to ask Gurung and Giri, if they are so concerned about fighting for Gorkhaland, why did they send their families abroad so that they can be safe?”
Binay Tamang to PTI

Since Thursday night, protests in support of carrying forward the shutdown have rocked several parts of the Hills. Rallies supporting the indefinite bandh were taken out in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik, Sonada and Kalimpong last night.

Confusion prevailed among the people over the differences within the GJM. When some traders tried to open theirs shops, GJM supporters forcibly closed them, the police said.

Mixed Messages at Party Meeting

At the party’s central committee meeting, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri asserted that there was “no question of the bandh being called of,” even as Tamang said a new course of action will be chalked out “if the outcome of the dialogue is not positive.”

When Tamang was asked whether GJM supremo Bimal Gurung, who was not present at the meeting, had been apprised of the central committee's decision to suspend the bandh, he said, "He will be informed."

Gurung has been underground since violence broke out in June. He had earlier alleged that leaders in the hills are conspiring against him.

Gurung Appeals to Continue Strike

Vehemently opposing the withdrawal of the ongoing shutdown, Gurung has accused some of his party leaders of joining hands with the West Bengal government and conspiring to foil their agitation for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

Terming such leaders as 'traitors', he appealed to the locals to further intensify the agitation from Friday so that the announcement of GJM's chief coordinator Binay Tamang to call off the shutdown from 1-12 September does not become successful.

In a video clip from an undisclosed location, Gurung alleged:

For the last three months we have been fighting for the prestige of our community. But I got the signal for the last few days that some of our leaders have joined hands with the Bengal government to fail our long standing movement for Gorkhaland.

"The leaders who participated in the talks with the state government have joined hands with them and the police to intimidate me and force me to go underground for more than an year in order to dilute the movement," the GJM chief alleged.

Pointing out that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has refused to discuss the demand of Gorkhaland stating it is not in their hands, Gurung questioned the fruitfulness of any other meetings with the state to fulfil the demand of Gorkhaland.

"Chief Minister Banerjee said during the all party meeting that the demand of Gorkhaland is not under her jurisdiction and refused to discuss the issue. What else should we discuss with her then?" he questioned.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had described the 29 August talks, which were held at the state secretariat, as "positive and cordial" and said talks will continue to restore peace and normalcy in the hills.

The hill leaders had raised the issue of Gorkhaland statehood at the meeting but the state government did not agree, she had said.

The indefinite shutdown in the hills, which had entered its 78th day on Friday, had paralysed normal life.

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)

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