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10 Jun 2017

Gurung blames 'her'

Bimal Gurung in Darjeeling on Friday. Picture by Passang Yolmo
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Sitting in his Singamari office in Darjeeling on Friday, surrounded by supporters who had spilled on to the Lebong Cart Road, Bimal Gurung opened up his mind before The Telegraph on the current situation and his plans.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president said Gorkhaland would be the only subject that he would broach in future and blamed "her" for the prevailing situation in the hills.
Violence on Thursday
This was a pre-planned move of Trinamul. We had earlier held protest and everything was peaceful. Yesterday, too, we had finished demonstration and most of the demonstrators were inside the auditorium for the meeting. I think a few Trinamul cadres might have mingled in the group and started hurling stones, leading to such a situation.
The present agitation
See, everything was peaceful in the hills. It was she who said Bengali language was to be mandatory across Bengal and specifically told the media that if one could learn Nepali, what was the harm in learning Bengali. Isn't this imposition? Should we just remain quiet and accept anything that is being done to us. Language is our mother. We cannot keep quiet, our future generation will not forgive us. So, did I create this situation.
Working relation with the state
The GTA was formed but was it allowed to function? Have the departments been transferred? Are employees of transferred department reporting to the GTA? Every time she comes, she only undermines our people, divides us into bits and pieces, undermines our sentiments. We were to have selection boards to recruit people to the GTA, school service commission, college service commission. But has it been formed even in five years? On the other hand, teachers who joined Trinamul were immediately given permanent jobs? Can we establish a working relation (with the government) when everything is being trampled upon.
The Morcha's support base
They used everything, administration, money power, formed 15 boards and are doing everything that they can. But the people are still with us as Gorkhaland is not a political slogan, which she does not understand. It is something that everyone in the hills, including her own party leaders, want as it is a legitimate demand for our identity. We are not against any community or language, we are only against the state government's policy. Our support base is intact, we lost Mirik municipality because of own internal problem.
Future course of action
We will hold an emergency meeting of the party in Darjeeling tomorrow. However, we will now go for Gorkhaland. That will be the only issue I will speak. Even with the Centre, I will no longer talk on issues like granting tribal status to 11 communities or central university. It will only be on Gorkhaland. If I don't go ahead with the Gorkhaland issue now, the people will not forgive me.
Likely form of agitation
I had earlier said that we would have no bandhs in the hills. However, after yesterday's incident, where a number of our supporters were injured, the youths decided to give a 12-hour strike call. This has inconvenienced the tourists and I express my sympathy towards them. There will be no strike tomorrow. However, the government has closed down Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan. This cannot be accepted. We will have to protest. The principal secretary has been replaced without consulting the GTA. How long are we to accepted anything that they feel like doing.

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