Gorkha outfit claims responsibility for triggering blasts in hills
Darjeeling, September 7, 2017: The Gorkhaland Liberation Army (GLA) resurfaced after a long lul claiming responsibility for the series of recent blasts in the Hills, they have warned all political outfits and leaders against compromising on the Gorkhaland issue.
The GJM on Thursday rushed a team to Delhi to hold talks with the Union Home Minister for tripartite talks.
A handwritten poster appeared at the Bakery-golai in Mirik Bazar in the wee hours of the Thursday. Written in black on pink poster paper the poster claimed that the GLA can go to any length for Gorkhas and Gorkhaland.
"We can kill and are ready to die for Gorkhaland. The West Bengal Government has to take note of this. We will not spare any party whether GJM, GNLF, TMC, JAP or any leader who compromises the Gorkhaland issue. Let the GLA not have to explode bombs in such leaders houses. Whatever explosion is occurring in the Hills is being done by the GLA" claimed the poster.
The posters asked the general public not to be afraid. "The GLA is not connected with any political party. The GLA's organization is active in the Gorkhaland area. The GLA comprises of people who have come out for the Gorkhas and Gorkhaland. GLA is not antinational" stated the poster.
"We are verifying the posters. We are looking into the matter seriously," said Anuj Sharma, ADG (law and order).
Incidentally there have been near regular blasts in the Hills since August 19. Blasts have occurred in Darjeeling motor stand; Kalimpong police station; Sukhiapokhari police station; Lhodama; Peshok Bridge; 27th Mile on the National Highway 10; 6th Mile police outpost; Mirik Municipality; Mirik PWD bungalow and a Municipal Councillors house in Mirik.
The blast at the Kalimpong police station on August 19 killed one Rakesh Raut, a civic police and injured a Home Guard constable. On Tuesday the police had unearthed an IED manufacturing unit at Dabaipani in the Lebong Valley in Darjeeling.
Not much is known about the GLA except that there have been posters threatening armed movement for Gorkhaland in the past in the name of GLA.
A police report on June 28, 2017 at the State Secretariat claimed that the GLA was planning an armed movement and were being aided by a neighbouring country. The report further claimed that the GLA was stockpiling arms in the Kalimpong district.
On November 8, 2014, along with some incriminating documents and cash of Rs 10,000, the Assam Police had recovered an M-16 rifle, two Beretta pistols, three .32 pistols, 300 rounds of 9 mm pistol, 80 rounds of AK series assault rifles, 198 rounds ammunitions of M-16 and 60 rounds of .32 pistol from a vehicle bearing West Bengal registration Number (WB74A 4788) traveling from Dimapur in Nagaland to West Bengal.
One Ganesh Chettri (53), resident of Baksa district of Assam along with Umesh Kami (29) of Lankapara, Alipurduar District of West Bengal were arrested from the vehicle.
During interrogation the two had revealed that 15 Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP, a voluntary force affiliated to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha) along with others had undergone 14 days arms training in Nagaland in 2013 with the intention of launching an armed movement for separate state of Gorkhland, under the banner of Gorkha Liberation
The duo had further revealed that members of the banned militant outfit of Nagaland - the NSCN had held a number of meetings in Darjeeling Hotels.
On January 18, 2009, posters laced with threats appeared in all major towns of the Darjeeling Hills heralding the launch of an armed struggle- that too not with "Khukuris" and Khaduas" (improvised guns) but with sophisticated automatic arms. The posters were signed as Gorkha Liberation Army (GLA).
The posters had appeared this morning in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik. 4 posters in Kalimpong had then stated "Gorkhaland cannot be achieved with Khukuris and Khaduas. We have already descended upon the battlefield armed with sophisticated automatic weapons." Posters in Mirik and Kurseong criticized and warned the GJM and specially Bimal Gurung for his policies lined on Gandhi's ideology. "Bimal Gurung's Gandhibadi policies will not fetch us Gorkhaland. We will get it using automatic arms" claimed the posters. All the posters bore the signature GLA.
The GLA is considered a hardcore militant outfit in the North East. Not much is known about them except that they have strongholds in certain regions of Assam in the Sonitpur area and also had tried to spread their wings to Nagaland, especially in the Dimapur region.
The GLA first came into picture in September 1999 before the ensuing Lok Sabha elections when their Sonitpur unit had threatened Lok Sabha candidates with dire consequences for betraying the Nepali community by making false promises before elections. They had chided both the Congress and BJP for allegedly remaining deaf to the pangs of the Gorkhas and treating the Gorkhas as a mere vote bank.
Again in January 2007 the commander-in-chief of the GLA Ajay Subba was arrested in Dimapur, Nagaland and had disclosed his outfits close links with the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA). Subba during interrogation had disclosed that the GLA is a front operating as one of ULFA's intelligence wings and was set up in Nagaland, functioning as ULFA's link in Nagaland. Its prime job is to coordinate the safe passage of ULFA recruits to Myanmar for training.
On the 13th September 2008 one Arjun Chetri of Nagaland allegedly a hardcore member of the GLA was arrested in Dekhiajule in the Sonitpur district of Assam along with an AK47, Chinese pistols and hand grenades.
GJM President Bimal Gurung who has been implicated in a number of blast cases under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in a telephonic conversation from his hideout demanded stringent action against any individual or outfit triggering the blasts.
"Our agitation has always been non-violent and democratic. It is the West Bengal Government conspiring to malign me and the party and trying to derail the Gorkhaland agitation" claimed Gurung.
He stated that the Union Home Minister had called the GJM to Delhi.
"I have sent a team to Delhi on Thursday. The Home Minister has called us. We will ask him to initiate tripartite talks for Gorkhaland. Based on the outcome we will decide on the strike" stated Gurung.
The team that left for Delhi include MLAs Sarita Rai and Rohit Sharma; Swaraj Thapa along with GMCC members Kalyan Dewan and Dawa Pakhrin.