The working president of Trinamool Congress in the Darjeeling Hills on Wednesday quit the party with two of his vice-presidents, with the TMC claiming they did so “under pressure”. The resignations of working president N B Khawas, district committee vice-president Parishma Giri and Kurseong sub-division vice-president Mohan Lama came on the heels of several more from development boards belonging to different communities in the Hills — such as the Lepcha and Tamang boards — over the past few days.
“I have put in my resignation today to my president Rajen Mukhia. The Gorkhaland movement has become a mass movement — not just in Darjeeling, but across the country, with Gorkhas in other cities from Delhi to Bangalore supporting it. I cannot keep myself aloof from this,” Khawas said. TMC Hills president Rajen Mukhia, however, told The Indian Express that Khawas had resigned under pressure. Khawas himself has denied this.
“Yesterday, Khawas’s home in Darjeeling was attacked. A petrol bomb was thrown by some unidentified people. He is leaving TMC in fear. He told me he had to save his life and home. The Morcha has threatened anyone who does not resign from TMC that his home will be burnt and he will be beaten up. The resignations today were out of fear,” said Mukhia. Mukhia said while he too was “scared” and under pressure to resign, he lives in Panighata, which is some distance away from Darjeeling town. Khawas however, lived in the heart of Darjeeling.
“Yes, there was an attack on my home yesterday by some miscreants, but I don’t want to talk about that. I am leaving TMC because I support this mass movement, and want to join it,” Khawas, who was in Siliguri with his family during the “attack”, said. Mukhia, meanwhile, says he has informed senior TMC leaders of the development.
“The problem in the Hills right now is that there is no administration and no law and order. The government is not able to handle the situation. The police are fearful for their lives, so how can the common man protect himself?” said Mukhia.