Darjeeling, June 27: The president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, Bimal Gurung, wants the “intellect” of hill teachers to be one of the engines that will drive forward the movement for a separate state.
During his first ever interaction with teachers from across the hills at Gymkhana Club here today, Gurung said it was time for “intellectuals” to “contribute in every possible way”.
“There are many who are learned and well educated, but intellectuals are those people who can understand the feelings of the common people and help them achieve their goals,” the Morcha chief said, before reiterating that he was “101 per cent confident of attaining statehood”.
“The separate state is for our coming generation,” said Gurung, whose followers have used the same argument to justify the participation of students in the Gorkhaland movement. Batches of seven school students will continue to be on a relay hunger strike in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik till July 5, when the Morcha’s indefinite shutdown resumes in the hills.
“I am totally committed to the cause and am not interested in the sops that are being offered by the Bengal government. I still believe that Gorkhaland will be a reality by March 2010. I am not interested in any kind of talks other than Gorkhaland,” Gurung added.
The leader asked the teachers, some of whom had come from Kalimpong, Kurseong and other parts of Darjeeling, to lend their “intellect” to improve the next generation.
“I will not betray the cause and will not tolerate any leader from my party betraying it either,” Gurung told the gathering.
The leader also took a dig at the earlier politicians from the hills and said they had used the demand for Gorkhaland only to garner votes. “What has happened for so long? Everyone has compromised, but this will not be repeated again. I have promised that I will not rest till we achieve Gorkhaland,” he said.
Gurung also encouraged the people to carry on defying government rules, by changing car number plates from WB (for West Bengal) to GL (Gorkhaland) and refusing to pay taxes. “This is our style of protesting and fighting our battle in a democratic manner. Everyone has the right to protest through non-cooperation,” he said.
D.K. Pradhan, a central committee member of the Morcha, reminded the gathering that the battle for Gorkhaland was not going to be easy.
“This divorce case with Bengal is not easy. It is not an ex-parte hearing and the case is heavily loaded against us. Everyone must contribute in this fight, but the emotions we are witnessing among the people is unbelievable,” Pradhan said.
The central committee member added that this movement for a separate state should be different from the Gorkhaland agitation of the eighties. “Then we had a lot of fence sitters. We also had our own people fighting against each other, but this time I see that everyone has come together and this is the way forward.”