Cracks in GJM widen, lookout notice issued against Bimal Gurung
Darjeeling (WB), Sep 1: GJM supremo Bimal Gurung removed party convener Binay Tamang from the post and revoked his announcement to suspend the bandh till September 12. The indefinite shutdown in the Darjeeling hills entered its 79th day on Friday.
Tamang was removed from the party post last night. Subsequently, he and Anit Thapa were expelled from the GJM. Talking to PTI, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) general secretary Roshan Giri said, "Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa have been expelled from the party today for violating the party line and anti-party activities."
Reacting to the development, Tamang said, "This is totally undemocratic. I am a founding member of the party. I will seek legal opinions against the decision. I am not going to form a separate party."
Tamang's house was ransacked by Gorkhaland supporters. Posters were pasted in front of his house, calling him a "traitor". Protests by pro-bandh Gorkhaland agitators have been rocking the hills since last night. Posters and leaflets were also distributed in support of the shutdown.
Rallies supporting the bandh were taken out at Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik, Sonada and Kalimpong. Confusion prevailed among the people of the hills over the differences within the GJM. When some traders tried to open their shops, the pro-bandh GJM supporters forcibly closed them, the police said.
Meanwhile, the police issued a lookout notice against Gurung today for his alleged involvement in various cases, including a bomb blast at the Kalimpong police station, which killed a civic volunteer.
"We have issued a lookout notice against Bimal Gurung. He is wanted in various cases, including the one related to the bomb blast at the Kalimpong police station," Additional Director General of Police (law and order) Anuj Sharma told PTI.
The GJM chief has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with two blasts in the Darjeeling hills on August 19. Besides, charges under the Explosive Substances Act, the West Bengal Maintenance of Public Order Act, IPC section 302 (murder) were also slapped on him, the police said.
Earlier in the day, 14 GJM activists, including a few central committee members of the party, were arrested by the police from a location near the Sikkim-Darjeeling border.
Gurung, along with GJM Yuva Morcha president Prakash Gurung, however, managed to escape, following which the lookout notice was issued against him by the police. The GJM leadership today alleged that two of their activists were killed by the police. Party sources claimed that a woman supporter was killed after the police lathicharged to disperse a crowd, which was protesting against the decision to suspend the shutdown.
The sources also alleged that another GJM worker was killed in police firing during a raid at its central committee meeting, which was held in an undisclosed location near the Sikkim-Darjeeling border. The police, however, denied the allegations.
"We have no information of any such deaths," a senior police official said. The police and the security forces were keeping a strict vigil to avoid any untoward incident, he added.