Gurung back to his old game

Bimal Gurung, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supremo, is back at his old game. He has revived his old demand for a separate Gorkhaland. He spread a totally false propaganda that the West Bengal Government was making the study of the Bengali language in the hills compulsory. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already stated categorically that Bengali will be an ‘optional’ not a ‘compulsory’ subject. But that did not prevent Gurung to let loose his cohorts to set fire to government offices and vehicles, attack the police, threaten the tourists at the peak of the tourist season and to create utter lawlessness in the hills.
Meanwhile, Mamata’s decision to send a special audit team to audit the accounts of all the three municipalities in the hills and the GTA has flustered Gurung no end. This is another reason for his raking up the separate State demand. The last thing that Gurung wants is a thorough probe into what he and his followers did with the crores of rupees of money – public money – that the GTA and the civic bodies were given. The real picture will emerge only after the audit is completed and Gurung is intent that the real picture is not known to the people – to his own people.
That Gurung’s Gorkhaland movement was not going to be a peaceful democratic movement is now obvious. The huge cache of arms, ammunition, explosives, cash, night-vision binoculars and wireless transreceivers that the police recovered from his house and GJM office speak eloquently of what he was planning to do. It is for the police now to unearth the sources of both the arms and ammunition and the money. Another factor that has not been much highlighted is that before starting his ‘movement’, Gurung visited Kolkata and had a closed door meeting with the leader of a political party. This leader did not conceal his glee when Gurung went back and set the hills aflame. The role of this party behind the GJM movement also needs to be gone into.
Mamata and her party should try to strike roots among the hill people and wean them away from the influence of the GJM. Only that can create the conditions for the development of both the hills and the plains and remove the feeling of ‘otherness’ among the hill people. Police action is an immediate response to a law and order situation but a lasting solution lies in the feeling of a common identity of all the people living in Bengal.

Sunday, 18 June, 2017