Bimal Gurung at the public meeting in Darjeeling’s Motor Stand on Sunday. Picture by Suman Tamang
Darjeeling, Oct. 27: Bimal Gurung today said he would continue to raise the demand for a separate state “as and when needed” but there would be no strikes.
“I will continue to raise the Gorkhaland demand as and when needed as I have come forward for Gorkhaland and we will never drop the demand. The agitation would be peaceful, without strikes, as I do not believe in the politics of violence,” the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief said.
Today’s meeting, a show of strength by the Morcha, was held three days after the October 24 Mamata Banerjee political meeting, the first by her after she became the chief minister.
Gurung drew a parallel with Telangana. The hill agitation started in July-end after the Congress agreed to carving Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh.
“If Telangana can be formed without the consent of the (Andhra Pradesh) state Assembly then I also have the right to raise the issue and bring it to the notice of the Centre,” Gurung told the nearly 15,000-strong presence at the Darjeeling Motor Stand.
“I have already told a section of my leaders to run the GTA for development. For me, being the chief of the GTA is not as important as agitating for Gorkhaland,” he added.
Some Morcha supporters at the meeting were seen waving placards saying they wanted Gurung to be the chief executive of the hill body again. Gurung had resigned from the post on July 30.
The party chief said a three-day dharna would be organised in Delhi from December 20.
Gurung accused Mamata of trying to divide the hill community. “Whenever Mamata Banerjee comes to Darjeeling, there is unrest in the area. This is because she does not come with a development package but with a package to divide the hill community,” he said referring to her decision to form the Lepcha Development Board.
“Let the state government create boards for other communities like Tamangs, Rais, Limbus, Chhetris, Bahuns and Bhutias and for all the possible communities residing in the hills. On one hand, she (Mamata) talks of the need to make the GTA functional and on the other hand, she wants to form different boards,” he said.
The Morcha has decided to hold a public meeting in Kalimpong on November 9 followed by a dharna in Delhi on December 20, 21, 22. “Everyone talks of a Delhi-centric movement and this time, we will go to Delhi with thousands of people not just from the Darjeeling hills but also from the rest of India,” Gurung said.
He criticised the local Trinamul leaders and urged Mamata Banerjee to conduct “a political class” for them.
“Look at the people who have joined the party (Trinamul). Some are woodcutters who came from Nepal and others are liars. Mamata Banerjee should conduct a political class for them,” the Morcha chief said.
Roshan Giri, general secretary of the Morcha, said the Subordinate Selection Board, School Service Commission and College Service Commission would be revived.
“Through the selection board we can recruit people to Groups B, C and D. At the moment, there are 4,800 vacancies in these three groups,” he said.
Terming the GNLF as a wasted political entity Giri said those joining Trinamul should understand that the party would never give Gorkhaland to the hill people.
House burnt down
Binny Sharma, spokesperson for Trinamul (hills), today said some Morcha supporters allegedly burnt down the house of Trinamul supporter Rajik Sundas in Glenburn tea garden, 25km from Darjeeling.
“His house was torched around 12.30am by Morcha supporters. We have lodged an FIR against 29 Morcha activists,” Sharma said.
Police sources said they had started an investigation and raids were being conducted to arrest the culprits.