Gurung at the meeting in Kurseong on Monday.
Picture by Suman Tamang
Kurseong, Oct. 7: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung today said time had come to start a dialogue and iterated the need for a peaceful agitation for Gorkhaland, indicating that he was not planning to call general strikes in the hills in the immediate future.
Addressing a meeting organised to celebrate the Morcha’s foundation at the Kurseong Motor Stand today, Gurung took a dig at his party leaders who were absconding fearing arrest.
“We have to go for talks now. Everything won’t be solved by hinsha, danga fashad (violence and riots). Right now, we are concentrating on the October 23 meeting and we are confident that the talks will be very good for all of us,” said Gurung.
The Morcha claims that the Centre has convened a meeting on October 23 to hold talks with the party and the state government to discuss the hill issue.
Gurung admitted that he had said that the land was seeking blood. “After I said that the land was seeking blood, milk has been separated from water. Soon after my comment, I could easily distinguish people and (political) parties who only pay lip service to the call for sacrificing lives for Gorkhaland.”
The Morcha chief told the crowd that he was the first to come up with the idea of a Gandhian movement. “I was the first to start the movement on Gandhian philosophy and other parties needn’t teach me a lesson on this. I don’t want any person in the hills, be it from the GNLF or the Trinamul Congress, to die because of infighting,” Gurung said, hinting that he was not looking at calling general strikes in the hills soon.
During the course of Gurung’s 45-minute speech, he stressed the need for dialogue at least three times.
Later speaking to journalists, Gurung said: “If they (state government) want to talk, they can always talk with my representatives (who are MLAs).” Gurung had earlier said the Morcha would only talk to the Centre and not the state government.
Training guns at the leaders of his own party, Gurung said: “Why are you absconding? Why are you scared of going to jail? You are not terrorists and sooner or later, everyone will obtain bail. A leader must be fearless and you shouldn’t be afraid of going to jail. Most of the leaders starting from Mahatma Gandhi went to jail.”
A large number of Morcha leaders were arrested on various charges after the party had resumed the Gorkhaland movement from the July-end.
The Morcha leader also gave broad hints that the party was willing to run the GTA Sabha and they were in no hurry to dump it. “If we hadn’t elected a new chief executive of the GTA on September 27, the state government would have nominated Trinamul leaders on September 30 to run the hill body and voices for statehood would have been stifled.”
Gurung promised to work towards regularising the services of the GTA workers and said he would even drag the state government to court on the matter.