Darjeeling unrest: GJM urges Centre to ensure Bimal Gurung, other top leaders' safety ahead of talks

By PTI

Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has urged the Centre to ensure the safety of party supremo Bimal Gurung and other top leaders to enable them to take part in a tripartite meeting proposed by the government.

Gurung and several other top leaders of GJM have been on the run for the last one month after cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act were lodged against them for their alleged involvement in several bomb blasts in the Darjeeling hills.

File image of Bimal Gurung. Getty Images

"The Centre should ensure the safety and security of Bimal Gurung and other top leaders of GJM, so that they are not arrested by the West Bengal police," GJM vice-president Kalyan Dewan told PTI. Terming it a part of confidence building measures, Dewan said if GJM leaders were arrested "who will carry forward the talks".

Meanwhile, Binay Tamang, the expelled GJM leader and chairman of the board of administrators of Gorkhaland territorial administration, said the suspension of the strike on the assurance of a tripartite meeting by the Centre was nothing but a "face saver and a political gimmick" of Darjeeling BJP MP SS Ahluwalia and Gurung.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh had appealed to the GJM to withdraw the strike in the Darjeeling hills for a separate Gorkhaland state and asked the union home secretary to convene an official-level meeting to discuss related issues. Gurung had called off the indefinite shutdown on its 104th day on 26 September in response to Singh's appeal.

"When I had called for lifting the strike, Bimal Gurung opposed it. Actually he wanted some excuse for the strike to be lifted and he got this excuse from the tripartite meeting. The people of the hills no longer consider Gurung as their leader," said Tamang.