Cracks in Gorkhaland Unity as Hill Parties Question GJM Leadership

The indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling, which began on 15 June, will enter its second month on Independence Day.

2 min read
Activists of the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC) during a hunger strike to demand the separate state of Gorkhaland” at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Sunday.

Cracks appeared in the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC) which was formed to demand a separate state of Gorkhaland, as some hill parties voiced their criticism of the controlling attitude of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

The indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling, which began on 15 June, will enter its second month on Independence Day.

“Most of the violence that took place in the hills in the last two months was by the supporters of the GJM. Such incidents have not only demeaned our democratic agitation, but have also put a question mark on our rightful demand,” Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP) president Sukhman Moktan told PTI.

Bimal Gurung, whose party GJM has been spearheading the movement, recently said that only his party has the right to call off the strike, which irked a few other parties.

"What is the need of forming the GMCC if Gurung takes the final call? GJM has to understand that this is a people's movement and not their own issue that they will thrust their views on us," GNLF spokesperson Neeraj Zimba said.

A senior GNLF leader said that most parties were of the opinion that the Gorkhaland agitation lacked proper leadership.

"There is serious lack of proper leadership. Although all of us had united for the cause of Gorkhaland, due to lack of leadership, we could not channelise the people's anger or aspirations," the leader said on condition of anonymity.

GJM general secretary Roshan Giri, however, refuted the claims of the hill parties. "Bimal Gurung is the undisputed leaders of the hills. We have cooperated with all the hill parties to carry forward our movement. The allegations against us are baseless."

GMCC Convenor and senior GJM leader Kalyan Dewan announced that the strike will go on.

The strike will continue until a positive step is taken to restore normalcy by the Centre. We urge the central government to initiate the dialogue process so that normalcy can be restored in the hills. If the state government is part of that dialogue process, we have no problem with it.
Kalyan Dewan

But some parties feels that the movement has lost direction. With the strike on for the last two months and GJM youth wing activists on hunger strike for 24 days, hill parties are out of ammunition to put pressure on the state and central governments, said a Jan Andolan Party leader.

We have overused both our weapons of the democratic movement. And now we have no ammo left in our arsenal to force the state and central governments to listen to our demands. We are clueless
Jan Andolan Party leader

Beyond extending the strike, the leaders don't appear to have any proper plan of action on how to further the statehood demand.

"We really don't know what is happening apart from taking part in processions. Nothing has moved forward in the last two months. The dialogue process is yet to start," a professor of St Joseph College, Darjeeling, said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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