A DAY after the Supreme Court dismissed Bimal Gurung’s plea seeking transfer of cases lodged against him and his colleagues “to an independent investigation agency”, the ousted GJM leader on Saturday said that while he was “disappointed” with the decision, all was not lost. In a video released from an undisclosed location, Gurung said in Nepali: “I am addressing my Gorkha brothers and sisters, who have patiently waited all these days. The SC verdict passed yesterday was disappointing. But I appeal to all not to lose heart. I respect the verdict given by the court. However, I want to state that all is not lost and this was not the last resort available to us. We still have other options and we are working on it. We should not lose our belief and confidence.”
Gurung’s former colleagues — now members of the Binay Tamang faction of GJM — as well as other Gorkha parties such as the GNLF, had on Friday said that the SC decision was the final nail in Gurung’s coffin and that he would be unable to recover and rejoin Darjeeling’s regional politics. While claiming that those left in the Gurung faction are now looking to jump ship, general secretary of GJM’s Tamang faction, Anit Thapa, had pointed out that Gurung and his supporters have lost mass support in the last six months.
Reacting to these statements, Gurung said, “I know 80 to 90 per cent of our people support the demand and are still with me. The rest are working under fear and threats. I have not worked against the will of the people. So there is no need to be afraid.”
Maintaining that they are not terrorists or anti-nationals, he added: “It was at the request of the Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) that I lifted the strike after 105 days and requested the central government to organise a tripartite meeting. This is an issue of identity, therefore, it needs a political solution. We are not terrorists or anti-nationals. We are only seeking solution to the identity crisis we experience. We have always respected the law, the Constitution and the judiciary. We have to maintain peace and have patience.”
Referring to the inspector in charge of Darjeeling police station allegedly threatening a GJM supporter, Gurung said the conversation “reflects the politics of violence being played by the government of West Bengal”. “I have not given up and will continue to work for our community. I have not been dishonest… and will never be. I will martyr myself for the cause but I will never deceive my people and community,” he added.