Peace Rallies rule Hill politics
Darjeeling, September 8, 2017: Peace rallies ruled Hill politics on Wednesday with the TMC taking out a rally in the foothills and rebel GJM leader Binay Tamang leading one in the Hills. Both the rallies were aimed at restoring peace and normality in the Hills.
Voice recording claimed to be that of GJM President Bimal Gurung blared on the microphone in a routine GJM rally in the Chowk Bazar. A mellowed Gurung appealed to Tamang and central committee member Anit Thapa to return to the GJM folds.
"I know you have made a mistake. Mend your ways and return. You have been trapped in a West Bengal Government conspiracy. It is time for you all to return to the GJM folds and united carry forward the Gorkhaland demand" stated the voice recording.
Binay Tamang led a candle light vigil in Darjeeling on Wednesday evening. The silent rally devoid of any party flags started from the Chowrasta and culminated at Chowk Bazar.
When questioned on Gurung's appeal to him to return, Tamang countered "Where should I return? I cannot go to Sikkim. I am leading the GJM's Gorkhaland agitation in the Darjeeling Hills. I appeal to Bimal Gurung to return to Darjeeling and lead the agitation."
He stated that the candle light vigil was apolitical in nature. "Very soon we will organize a political rally at the Chowk Bazar in Darjeeling" added Tamang.
The rally is slated for the 9th of this month. "We are happy with the turnout. More people would have come if there was no Talibani diktat issued from a public meeting on Wednesday. They had ordered everyone to stay indoors after 4pm" alleged Binay Tamang.
Meanwhile West Bengal Tourism Minister Gautam Deb replicated the Panighatta, Mirik model in Garidhura on Wednesday.
The TMC organized a peace rally in Garidhura in the foothills under the Mirik sub division. Following the rally, shops and business establishments opened up in Garidhura defying the ongoing indefinite bandh clamped by the GJM. The bandh hit the 84 day mark on Wednesday.
"This rally is for restoration of peace and normalcy. People are not getting food in the Hills so we distributed food. Many families owing allegiance to the GJM joined TMC. We want normalcy to return. We will visit the Hills after the foothills" stated Minister Deb.
Food grains including rice and whole wheat was distributed by the TMC. Many families from Garidhura, Rohini, Longview, Pankhabari and nearby places owing allegiance to the GJM joined the TMC on Wednesday.
Incidentally similar rallies had resulted in the opening up of Panighatta and Mirik on Monday.
An IED blast had rocked Mirik on Wednesday night and another IED was lobbed at the residence of TMC Municipal Councillor on Tuesday night (which did not explode.)
"The IEDs are being exploded in order to instill fear amongst the public so that the bandh can be clamped once again as the people of Mirik were brave enough to defy the bandh and open up" claimed LB Rai, Chairman, Mirik Municipality.
Along with others GJM Chief Bimal Gurung has been implicated in the Mirik IED case and charged under the Unlawaful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA.).