GJM to observe July 27 as martyrs’ day

Makes common cause with GNLF
Report by: 
17 Jun 2018

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha may be arch-rivals of Gorkha National Liberation Front in the political arena of Darjeeling, but GJM leaders have decided to make common cause with the GNLF in the arena of observance of martyrs’ day programmes. Only the future can say this will lead a broader political understanding between the two main parties dominating the political and social life in the hills for the past three decades.
For, GJM has decided to remember formally rather on July 27 the 12 people who were killed exactly a year ago, on June 17, 2017, in Darjeeling in police firing. July 27 is being observed as “Shahid Diwas” by GNLF leader Subash Ghisingh since the signing of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council accord in 1988. On that day in 1986, in Kalimpong 13 people were killed when the police opened fire on a crowd which was proceeding to the Mela Ground in the town to attend a public meeting.
On June 17, exactly a year ago, three statehood agitators- Sunil Rai of Kaijaley, Bimal Sahshankar of Goke and Mahesh Gurung of Relling, participating in a rally near Singamari in Darjeeling, were the
first to be killed when police opened fire to disperse a stone-pelting crowd. That was the beginning of the latest phase of statehood agitation in Darjeeling; an agitation that has lost steam subsequently.
In the entire course of the agitation that started from June 8, 2017, and withdrawn on September 26, a total of 13 people including a police person were killed. The agitation first started with opposition to the decision of the West Bengal government imposing Bengali language in schools. Rallies and arson
every day marked the 104 days of agitation and strike.
GJM leaders said on Sunday a decision had been taken by the party to organize a central programme on July 27. On that occasion families of the “martyrs” of the three phases of agitation from 1986 to 2017 would also be invited to attend and be felicitated. “Several people were killed during the three rounds of agitation for a separate state. We must remember all of them. We cannot observe each day as it will not make sense.That’s why we have decided to organize a central programme to remember and honour the martyrs, like the GNLF party, July 27 every year” said GJM spokesperson Suraj Sharma.
In the first statehood agitation that was helmed by the GNLF in 1986 more than 1200 people were
reportedly killed. And in the second round of agitation led by the GJM from 2008 to 2011, five people were killed.
A few days ago, former GJM president Bimal Gurung who is presently on the run from police through a social media message had asked people to observe Sunday as “black day” to mark the killing of people in the police firing on June 17, 2017. Gurung has also asked people to switch off their lights at home and light 106 butter lamps to remember the day.
The GJM party however has made an appeal not to politicize the killings of the people during the agitation. “All who have died during various agitations are martyrs. But, the issue should not be
politicized,” the GJM spokesperson said. (EOIC)