Morcha threatens to unleash Gorkha squad – Rs 3 lakh promised to GLP members dying for statehood

The Telegraph

Darjeeling, March 25: Bimal Gurung has threatened to “let loose the GLP” on the administration if it does not stop harassing the common people in the hills. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president has also promised Rs 3 lakh each to families of Gorkhaland Personnel if they are killed during the statehood agitation that the party is spearheading.

“If the GLP members die during the agitation, the party will provide a compensation of Rs 3 lakh (each) to the next of kin,” Gurung told a gathering of party workers at the Ambotia tea garden, 50km from Darjeeling and in Kurseong subdivision, yesterday.

Soon after announcing the compensation, Gurung warned the state government against “continuously conducting raids and harassing the public in Kurseong”.

“If the administration does not stop conducting raids and harassing the public in Kurseong, I will let loose the GLP on them,” he warned. “The GLP is trained by ex-servicemen on every aspect of combat except the use of firearms.” Last month, police had conducted raids across Kurseong town following the attack on the police station there and the torching of the house of Shanta Chhetri, the GNLF MLA from Kurseong. Gurung was referring to the February 18 incident in which more than 70 party supporters were arrested in and around Siliguri for blocking NH55 and NH31 during a 24-hour bandh called by the Morcha’s student front. The arrests triggered the rampage and the arson in the hill town. “If ever there comes a time when people stop talking about Gorkhaland, I along with my GLP, will carry on with the struggle till my last breath,” he said.

The Morcha claims to have around 7,000 men and women in the GLP, who are paid a monthly remuneration of Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500. The GLP is made up of volunteers raised initially — according to party claims — for crowd management during public programmes. Later, the party had tried to make it function like a parallel police force, checking cars to seize “illegal liquor”. The administration had then announced that the GLP seizures went against the law. Even though the Morcha president talked about “letting loose the GLP”, he laid stress on a “democratic agitation”.

“The kind of democratic agitation we have undertaken is an example for the rest of the country. Unlike the agitation (for statehood) of 1986 (started by Subash Ghisingh), when 1,200 people died and women along with children were taught to play with gunpowder, we are moving ahead in a peaceful manner now,” said Gurung.

The leader also lambasted Ghisingh for his brand of politics. “After the death of hundreds of his supporters, he left out the Dooars and Terai (from the purview of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council). We are now having to fight for this territory,” he said.

Gurung also referred to Ghisingh’s call to the common people to make offerings of tongba (intoxicant) to the gods and goddesses during his Sixth Schedule campaign. “If people want such a rule and such a leader (who wants people to make tongba offerings), it will be their loss,” he said. The GNLF had organised meetings at Longview and Sukna early this month. “Ninety-nine per cent of the people are fighting for Gorkhaland but a few of them, promoted by the state, are trying to derail our movement. For these people my Nari Morcha is enough. Our Nari Morcha members have long nails which can be used to good effect,” he said in jest.

The leader also had a word for Madan Tamang, the president of the ABGL, a Morcha rival. “For 40 years you (Tamang) were in politics and you should be able to show what you have done for the hill people,” Gurung said.

The Morcha president is currently touring the Kurseong subdivision, reorganising the party. “When our party was formed those who came forward initially became the leaders. Now we are seeing to it that the leaders are selected by the local people through election. This will help the party remain strong at the grassroots level,” Gurung said.

The process of dividing the party into block and zonal-level units has already been completed in Kalimpong subdivision. After Kurseong, Gurung is expected to carry out the exercise in Darjeeling as well. The Morcha plans to hold a large public meeting, to be addressed by Gurung, in Kurseong town on March 28.
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www.kalimpong.info

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