Who is Bimal Gurung?

Bimal Gurung is the founder of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM) and leads a movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published:June 15, 2017 2:23 pm
darjeeling violence, gorkhaland, mamata banerjee, gjm, gorkha janmukti morcha, tmc, west bengal, kalimpong, Kurseong, darjeeling latest news, indian express GJM chief Bimal Gurung in Darjeeling on Saturday. Partha Paul

Bimal Gurung is the founder of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and leads a movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland. Gurung was born into a family of tea garden workers on July 17, 1964. His mother Chandramaya Gurung and father Bharat Gurung, both of whom passed away, had to bring Gurung’s education to a stop at an early stage due to the family’s financial woes. He grew up in his adolescent years doing odd jobs helping the family to make ends meet.

The turning point in his life arrived when the Gorkha National Liberation Front launched an armed struggle in 1986. The movement wanted a Gorkha homeland. Gurung jumped in to join Gorkha Volunteers’ Cell (GVC) that was the youth wing of GNLF. He left GVC on ideological differences after the GNLF signed the 1988 Darjeeling Accord with the Government of India and West Bengal government that resulted in the formation of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).

He returned to public eye once again in 1992 when he floated his own group of local unemployed youth from the hills. Over the years he gained popularity among the youth in the region and subsequently he won the DGHC bypoll election from Tukvar constituency as an independent candidate. He again joined the GNLF and handled the DGHC sports and youth affairs department.

On October 7, 2007, Gurung floated GJM against his then principal adversary Subhash Ghising. He continued his face-off with him till Ghisingh finally left the Hills owing to resentment against him by the locals over his proposal to include the Darjeeling Hills within the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. The sixth schedule deals with tribal areas and autonomous districts/regional councils and makes special provisions for the administration of the tribal dominated areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

Ghisingh was the head of GNLF, DGHC and Gurung’s mentor. But, he turned against him to pose a challenge for leadership in the region.

His organisation finally brokered an agreement with the Centre and the state government that put Gorkhaland Territorial Administration on record. Gurung now serves as the Chief Executive of GTA.

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