Kolkata: Ahead of the 2021 assembly elections in West Bengal, the Union Home Ministry has written a letter to the West Bengal government and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to attend a meeting scheduled to be held on October 7, 2020, at 11 am under the chairmanship of G Kishan Reddy, MoS, Home Affairs.
The Binoy Tamang led faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha questioned the intent of the BJP-led Central government for calling the tripartite meeting now ahead of elections and claimed that the ruling party at the Centre want to win the confidence of the people of the hills.
“We Gorkhas always welcome any meeting on Gorkhaland. But, why is the meeting being convened now ahead of the elections? We feel that the BJP wants Gorkhaland to be a poll issue to win elections in the hills in the 2021 polls,” said Anit Thapa, chairperson, Board of Administrators, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
He further added, “Where was the Central government when the Gorkhaland movement was at its peak in 2017 and was demanding a tripartite meeting. The Central government did not pay heed to our demands and now they are calling a tripartite meeting. Their intentions are very clear.”
On the other hand, confusion prevails over the which faction of the GJM has been invited.
The letter mentions President, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, Singmari, North Point Darjeeling, but the address mentioned in the letter housed the GJM party office which was sealed by an order of District Magistrate, Darjeeling District after directions of the court in 2017. The party office still continues to remain sealed.
This apart, the Supreme Court while hearing cases of Darjeeling unrest has recognised two factions of GJM – one led by Bimal Gurung and the other by Binoy Tamang.
Thapa questions the Central government as to which faction has been invited for the meeting. “Both factions have been recognised by the Supreme Court led by Bimal Gurung and Binoy Tamang. There is no clarity on which faction has been invited for the meeting,” added Thapa.
While senior leaders of the GJM before the party split in November 2017, Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri have been at large with several cases being filed by Darjeeling Police on them with charges of rioting, arson, murder, damage to government property. The duo has failed to secure a bail to return to the hills.
The Darjeeling hills saw a 104-day strike demanding a separate state – Gorkhaland in 2017. The hills saw the bloodiest violence killing several members of GJM and injuring many policemen. Widespread violence marred more than 100 days of the strike leaving several government properties damaged.