Darjeeling, July 02, 2017: The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) is fast emerging as a strong force in the Hills and a safe house for the political activists facing retribution with the ongoing unrest in the Hills.
GNLF led by Subash Ghising had spearheaded a 28 month long violent Gorkhaland agitation in the 1980s that had left 1200 people dead. The agitation had culminated in the formation of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council- an administrative body for the Hills.
In 2007 Bimal Gurung a close confidant of Subash Ghising left the GNLF fold and floated the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM.) The GJM had ousted Ghising and the GNLF from the Hills launching a neo agitation for Gorkhaland. Witch hunting and social boycott of GNLF cadres had become the order of the day.
Many GNLF leaders and supporters had left the Hills. With the Trinamool Congress (TMC) recently making political inroads in the Hills many GNLF leaders and supporters had taken refuge in the TMC party.
However all this changed with the GJM successfully fanning the Gorkha sentiments alleging that the Government of West Bengal is forcefully imposing the Bengali language in the school syllabus in the Hills. Protests were launched by the GJM.
With the protests gaining momentum it was deftly given a Gorkhaland twist. An appeal was made by the GJM to all pro Gorkha forces for a united movement for Gorkhaland. Around 13 political parties and apolitical organizations including the GJM and GNLF came together to form the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee.
With the tables having turned it is definitely a sticky wicket for the TMC in the Hills. The party opposes the Gorkhaland demand. There have been incidents of stone pelting and arson in the houses of TMC leaders in the Hills.
While many of the TMC front rung leaders have left the Hills and have taken refuge in the plains, others are joining the GNLF. JB Tamang, President of the TMC affiliated trade union, Darjeeling Hills crossed over to the GNLF on Sunday. Tamang claims that more than 5000 TMC supporters would soon join the GNLF.
"I had started my political career with the GNLF. I had even joined the GJM. Despite Bimal Gurung's promise that he would ensure the formation of Gorkhaland by March 2010 nothing translated into action. I joined the TMC. I have left the TMC and returned home for Gorkhaland" stated Tamang.
Tamang stated that the INTTUC affiliated to the TMC has units in 75 tea gardens in the Hills. "I appeal to all the TMC activists to resign and join the GNLF" stated Tamang.
The GNLF has lined up a massive rally in Darjeeling on July 27. Mann Ghising, GNLF President and son of late Subash Ghising will be addressing the rally.
Sunday, the 18th day of indefinite bandh in the Hills saw a vehicle vandalised in Kurseong and another torched in the wee hours of Sunday. On Saturday night alleged GJM supporters attacked the fire brigade station at Kurseong and set three fire engines on fire.
On Sunday morning, GJM supporters gheraoed the Darjeeling Sadar Police station demanding the release of Nari Morcha Dhan Maya Tamang.
The GJM have washed their hands from the recent incidents of arson and vandalizing.
"Anti Gorkhaland forces and TMC government sponsored elements have come together in the Hills and are creatining violence to defame the GJM party and the GJM leadership. We demand an inquiry of all arsons, police atrocities, breach of communal harmony in the plains. We demand immediate intervention of the Central Government to stop the draconian governance of the Mamata Banerjee led Bengal Government" stated GJM leader Binay Tamang.