Gurung threatens militant stir for Gorkhaland in Darjeeling



Darjeeling: Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung on Wednesday threatened to launch a 'militant' agitation in the Darjeeling hills to realise its original demand for a Gorkhaland state, a day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee firmly ruled out any division of the state.

Raising the Gorkhaland issue in the midst of the chief minister's visit to the Darjeeling hills, Gurung alleged after inaugurating a bridge at Bijonbari, near here, that the state government had been trying to 'suppress' demands of the hill people.

Gurung also made a brief reference to the Telengana statehood demand and said, "Our movement is old and we will fight for its realisation."

When a reporter asked for the nature of the movement he wants to launch, Gurung said, "The police may open fire at us. We may die. But we will fight for realising our demand for separate Gorkhaland."

He said that GJM would be holding a rally at Sukna on February 10. Gurung, who is the chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration which was recently formed after a tripartite agreement, alleged, "She is trying to set a divide and rule policy for the hills and drive a wedge between the Lepchas and the Gorkhas, which we will not tolerate."

He was referring to Banerjee's proposal today to form a separate development body for the ethnic Lepcha community in the hills.

Making a reference to Banerjee's snub of a section of GJM workers who shouted slogans for Gorkhaland and held aloft posters yesterday during a programme in Darjeeling, said he was 'shocked'.

Taking exception to the chief minister's warning that she could be both "rough and tough", the GJM president, who shared dais with the chief minister yesterday, alleged that the state government was trying to act "in a dictatorial manner".

Gurung alleged that the state government did not care to consult GTA principal secretary while organising the North Bengal festival.

"GTA has been empowered and it can hold such a festival. But it was not so in reality. We will not allow any dictatorship on us which the state government seeks to impose on us," he said.

PTI