Posters signed by “Gorkhaland Liberation Army” (GLA) have surfaced for the first time since the ongoing agitation in Darjeeling district began almost three months ago, becoming a major cause for concern for both the police and administration.
The posters — which carry the warning ‘Gorkhaland Birodhi Hoshiyar’ (Those opposing Gorkhaland, beware) — claimed responsibility for the IED blasts that recently shook the Hills, including one that took place near the gate of the PWD bungalow in Mirik sub-division on Thursday. However, no one was injured.
The posters, which were spotted in Mirik Thursday, warn of an “armed struggle” if political parties settle for anything less than a separate state.
“GLA can go to any extent to fulfil our demand of a separate state. Even if we have to die we will. We will spare no traitors be it GNLF, JAP, TMC or GJM. Any politician tries to sell out, we will be forced to bomb their house. All the blasts that have taken place till today were done by GLA,” they read.
The posters also speak of the GLA’s expanse. “GLA has been formed across Gorkhaland region and is not affiliated with any political party…GLA is not anti-national but formed by those who love our land…”
“The posters are hand-written. We are verifying them and looking into the matter seriously,” said Anuj Sharma, ADG (law and order).
Nearly half a dozen IED blasts have taken place in the Hills during the pro-Gorkhaland agitation. On August 20, a civic policeman had died in an IED explosion at a police outpost in Kalimpong.
The first indication of the possible existence of the GLA was in November 2014, when a huge cache of arms was seized in Chirang district of Assam. Two persons were arrested in that case, who had said that the arms were on their way to Darjeeling. They had also revealed that 15 Gorkhaland Personnel (a voluntary force raised by the GJM and trained by former army personnel) underwent training in Nagaland with the aim of launching an armed movement for a separate state. Later, some ammunition was also found from Darjeeling.
During interrogation, the name of Sanjay Thulung, a GJM leader of Tukdah-Glenburn area who is absconding, had also cropped up. In June this year, two operatives arrested in a joint operation of the Assam police and Assam Rifles, claimed to be from GLA. Babu Gogoi and Rajesh Lama were arrested from the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border.
Thereafter, little activity of the alleged outfit has been reported.
“The posters undersigned GLA is indeed a cause for concern, since little is known about this group. They never showed any activity here, neither claimed responsibility for any violence,” said a senior officer of the state home department.
Meanwhile, the Hills reeled under the indefinite strike which completed 85 days on Thursday. In Darjeeling, expelled GJM leader Binay Tamang took out a rally under heavy police protection. In the foothills near Siliguri, Trinamool leader and state tourism minister Gautam Deb took out rallies as well.