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23 Feb 2018

Bimal Gurung hopes for SC relief, return to Hills

TNN | Feb 22, 2018, DARJEELING: Fugitive Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Bimal Gurung hopes to get justice from the Supreme Court — despite facing cases under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) — and return to the Hills soon.
In an audio clip of a conversation in Nepali, Gurung said: “Things went off well today. The Bengal government spoke for hours (in the Supreme Court). We will place our arguments tomorrow. The judgment is expected in a day or two. We can pray to God that things end well.” He appeared to be hinting it was time for him to come out in the open despite the risks.
“I am fighting for the community, not for myself. I am ready to sacrifice my life for the sake of my community. Time is not too far when I will be coming out in the open. All of us have to coordinate and take the risks to work even at the cost of going to jail. I have faith in the Supreme Court. I request our circle in the town to coordinate and work,” the GJM leader said from an undisclosed location.
The remarks drew a sharp response from the new GJM president Binay Tamang. In a statement to the media, Tamang said: “A voice recording is being circulated among Gurung loyalists asking them to get ready for being put behind the bars. He (Gurung) has asked supporters to take risks, come what may. The conversation reflects Gurung’s mindset and his desperate call for resorting to violence.”
The new GJM chief blamed Gurung for his confrontationist role that resulted in the loss of innocent lives of Hills people during the 104-day strike last year. “It is because of Gurung’s diktat and undemocratic policies that the Hills suffered, people were killed and many are confined in jail. The Darjeeling hills are returning to normalcy after 104 days of unrest and problems. And now he (Gurung) wants to create fresh trouble using undemocratic and violent agitation, as released in the audio,” Tamang said.
He also questioned Gurung’s attempt to move the SC for anticipatory bail by hiring expensive lawyers. “People are still languishing in jail and their families suffering. But Gurung is spending huge money to get bail for himself instead of helping those in jail. This shows he is more interested in saving his skin than taking the risk of making a comeback to the Hills,” Tamang said.
Political observers were of the view that Gurung was being supported by BJP and the Centre, keeping the 2019 elections in mind.

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