Darjeeling: As the popular saying goes “it was the straw that broke the camel’s back….” Bimal Gurung, the charismatic and popular Singamari-Tukvar samasty councilor seems to have had enough of GNLF leadership and their empty promises including that of Party Chairman and hitherto unchallenged Mr. Subash Ghising. Speaking today at a huge public rally at Old Super Market, Darjeeling, Mr. Gurung renewed the call for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
Mr. Gurung today launched a new political group “Gorkha Janmukit Moracha”, and he has called for people across political lines to join this group so that the hills can speak with one voice to attain Gorkhaland.
It was evident today that he was not alone, in support of his call various political and apolitical figures including school teachers had come from different parts of the Darjeeling Hills. People had traveled from as far as Rimbick Lodhoma to Todey-Tangta in Kalimpong to show solidarity with Mr, Gurung and his call. Even from within the GNLF supporting him are various so called ‘rebel’ leaders prominent among them being Mr. Dinesh Gurung (a.k.a. karate kaila), councilor ward no 26.
Politics does produce strange bed fellows, it was a treat to see the AGSU President Mr. Roshan Giri share the same dais with Mr. Gurung. It is to be remembered that AGSU was at loggerheads with GNLF, and always felt threatened by Mr. Gurung and his followers. Mr. Giri said that “we welcome the dedication and commitment shown by Mr. Gurung and we support him wholeheartedly”. Similar sentiments were echoed by various members of the Darjeeling Bar Association.
The main theme of today’s rally was not just to renew the call for a separate state of Gorkhaland but also to make people aware that Mr. Ghising is no more the sole Champion of the people of the hills or their aspirations. Speaking in this respect Mr. Gurung said “I have always worked sincerely for my people and will continue to do so……… “ referring to the assassination of Mr. C.K. Pradhan, Mr. Gurung said that “everyone knows who murdered Mr. Pradhan, the only entity which remains uninformed seems to be the State Government, hence, we demand for an impartial C B I inquiry into the matter”. Further Mr. Gurung said that “do not take me to be like other GNLF leaders who will surrender meekly, do not even think of murdering me……. I have already dedicated my life for my community and even if I die there will be a 1000 thousand more Bimal Gurungs tomorrow.”
Mr. Gurung also added “we are lucky to be born in the land of Mahatma Gandhi and we do not need to be violent, a separate state is our right and we shall attain it peacefully.”
By looking at the show of strength as support that has flown in from all corners of the Darjeeling Hills, people expect some kind of political turmoil in the coming days. As one senior reporter quipped “the days of the Ek Chatra Raj are long gone, finally Darjeeling seems to have woken up from its slumber.”
Diwaskar Chettri and Shailendra Mani Pradhan,