A day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee intensified her attack against Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), its activists organised a protest rally in Darjeeling and reiterared its demand for a separate Gorkhaland. GJM activists took out a rally from Bhanu Bhavan to Chowk Bazaar in Darjeeling on Tuesday and slammed Mamata for targeting their party on Monday. The chief minister had launched a blistering attack against GJM for spreading “lies” about her government, and had said her government would conduct a “special audit of the funds” received by Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) in the last five years.
“I will instruct the Finance Department to run a special audit on how the money has been used by GTA. If they have done a good job, we will reward them. But if we find any discrepancy, we will not spare even the secretary of the GTA,” Mamata had said while addressing a public meeting at Mirik.
Following this, GJM activists on Tuesday allegedly damaged hoardings and posters of Mamata, and later burnt an effigy of her. The rally was led by GJM chief Bimal Gurung. Protesters also denounced the chief minister’s plan to make Bengali compulsory in all schools in the state. They raised slogans such as “We Want Gorkhaland” and “Go Back Mamata”.
The chief minister, on the other hand, met with people in the hills while taking a walk in the streets of Darjeeling on Tuesday.
Trinamool Congress workers organised a counter-rally in Kurseong and demanded the arrest of Gurung in the Madan Tamang murder case. The party also lodged a complaint against GJM members at a police station in Darjeeling for damaging posters and hoardings of Mamata.
Mamata is scheduled to hold her first Cabinet meeting in Darjeeling on June 8. With the GTA election due next month, protests against her are likely to intensity during her time in the hills.