Days after Gorkha League chief Madan Tamang’s murder, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung Tuesday had a tough time entering Darjeeling as his convoy faced angry demonstrations following allegations that his party was responsible for the killing. Tamang’s brother, meanwhile, resigned from the GJM as a central committee member.
Gurung’s convoy, entering Darjeeling from Kalimpong, was also stopped for some time about 10 km from Darjeeling town at Ghum, an official said. A police complaint has been filed against Gurung for the murder of Tamang, who was the chief of the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL).
Gurung, whose writ ran unchallenged in the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong till last week, got a taste of the changing mood of the hills people as some of them even threw themselves on the ground in a bid to block the convoy of 40-45 cars.
Protesters, mostly owing allegiance to Tamang’s ABGL and other parties opposed to the GJM, raised slogans against Gurung and the GJM.
Tamang was stabbed to death Friday in broad daylight near the Planters’ Club of Darjeeling town while he was busy making preparations for an ABGL meeting to celebrate the party’s foundation day.
A first information report (FIRs) on Tamang’s killing has been filed against Gurung and 12 others, including his wife and Gorkha Nari Morcha (GJM’s women’s wing) leader Asha Gurung and party general secretary Roshan Giri.
However, despite the Darjeeling district administration clamping prohibitory orders banning the assembly of more than five persons, Gurung held a brief meeting at Chowkbazar declaring that he would address a rally at the same spot May 30.
“That rally will prove our strength,” he said, while alleging that the West Bengal administration and Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM) – ABGL’s partner in the anti-GJM Democratic Front – were responsible for Tamang’s murder.
Gurung moved under heavy security, with his close associates, police and Gorkhaland Personnel, a force raised by his party, accompanying him in large numbers to prevent any untoward incidents. Earlier, he addressed a gathering at Ghum, where his convoy was stopped.
The GJM got a further setback Tuesday as Amar Lama, Tamang’s brother, quit the party over allegations that it was involved in the widely respected leader’s murder.
The GJM, which has been spearheading a movement for a separate Gorkhaland state to be carved out of parts of northern West Bengal, plunged into a serious crisis Monday with eight central committee members and several intellectuals associated with it quitting the party in the wake of Tamang’s killing.
GJM’s press and publicity secretary Harka Bahadur Chhetri and seven other central committee members also resigned.
GJM assistant general secretary Benoy Tamang, however, claimed that the party’s support base was intact. “It’s not true that people have turned away from us. Our strength is the same as it was a few days back.”