Bimal Gurung and other GJM leaders resigned en masse from the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) — a semi-autonomous administrative body of the Hills — on Friday, with a defiant GJM chief demanding a CBI inquiry into the deaths of three party supporters on June 18.
Gurung who held a press conference at Patlaybas, said: “I am not Kishenji (Maoist leader who was killed by security forces). I am not a Maoist. We have all resigned from GTA, and now it is only Gorkhaland for us. We are protesting democratically.”
“The state government is trying to frame us. Why should we kill our own sons? I demand a CBI inquiry into the matter. We will go for agitations, dharnas, rallies and fast unto death for the cause of Gorkhaland,” said Gurung.
However, the state police had maintained that only one person had died. In the FIR it had lodged into the June 17 violence, police had named Gurung, his wife and other GJM leaders as accused. Gurung also made it clear that there would be no respite from the indefinite strike, which entered its ninth day on Friday.
“Today, we gave a window for school students. But there is no question of a break from the strike. I am prepared to die, but I will see the end of this,” said Gurung. Gurung also stated that GJM would not allow GTA elections to be held in the Hills.
“There is no question. We will not participate, and we will not allow GTA elections,” said Gurung. The GJM has been ruling GTA since 2012 and its five-year term is set to expire this month. The GTA administers Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik, some areas of Siliguri sub-division of Darjeeling district and the whole of Kalimpong district.
The GJM has rescheduled an all-party meeting to June 29, prior to which GJM workers will symbolically burn the GTA accord in different places in the hills on June 27. “We are ready to fight for Gorkhaland under the leadership of Bimal Gurung. All Gorkha outfits should leave their flags and go for a united agitation. We must clear our differences,” said Neeraj Zimba, spokesperson of the Gorkha National Liberation Front.
Meanwhile, trouble erupted in Siliguri with locals agitating near the Sikkim National Transport bus depot. Locals protested against Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, who wrote a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, supporting the demand for Gorkhaland.
“What he (Gurung) is doing is unconstitutional. They (GJM) are setting fire to primary health centres and government buildings. He is trying to bring in anarchy,” said state Tourism Minister Gautam Deb.