Gurung to visit Salua

The Telegraph

Kalimpong, Feb. 25: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung today said he would lead a 10-member team to Salua, the headquarters of the Eastern Frontier Rifles, to “take a look at the situation there”.

“We have not yet finalised a date for the visit and that will be decided within a day or two as will be the members of the delegation. But I can tell you that I will be going,” Gurung said at Deolo this evening.

A day after the attack on the Shilda EFR camp by Maoists, Morcha spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri had announced that a party delegation would visit West Midnapore. However, he did not specify whether Gurung would be part of the team.

The EFR personnel are mostly drawn from the hills. The massacre of 24 policemen — 19 were from the Nepali-speaking community — has become an emotive issue in the Darjeeling hills.

Observers feel that with the feelings of outrage at the deaths still running strong in the hills and Salua, which has a large Nepali-speaking community, Gurung wants to show that he is the only leader of the community. “He wants to show he is the only one who will stand by those affected by the Maoist attack.”

In fact, Gurung, at a media conference in Darjeeling on Tuesday, attributed the February 18 violence in Kurseong, where the police station was attacked and MLA Shanta Chhetri’s house was set on fire, to emotions of the people.

“If a single minister from the Bengal government cannot offer flowers to the EFR personnel killed in the Shilda massacre, the people will definitely be emotional,” Gurung had said.

On February 18, while paying respects to the bodies of the slain personnel at the Mela Ground here, Gurung demanded a CBI probe into the Shilda incident and wanted the Bengal government to come out “with the truth behind the event”. He had also alleged that the attack was a conspiracy hatched by the state government against the Gorkhas.



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