The GJM president intends to better lead the Statehood agitation for Gorkhaland

Bimal Gurung, president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), on Tuesday resigned as chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) even as the 72-hour strike called by his party in support of a separate Gorkhaland entered its second day.

Mr. Gurung, who sent in his resignation to Governor M.K. Narayanan, said in a statement in Darjeeling that he had taken the decision to enable himself to better lead the agitation for Gorkhaland.

“It is sad for Gorkhaland as the Telangana issue has been considered by the Central government [while our] issue was not even discussed in the CWC [meet held earlier during the day] in Delhi,” said Mr. Gurung. “There will be two days relaxation [of the ongoing strike] for Thursday and Friday. There will be more strikes from Saturday,” said Mr. Gurung.

Warning

In a clear indication that uncertain times were ahead, Mr. Gurung said “all school and college students staying in hostels should be taken home immediately” while warning that tourism would also be affected.

The statement followed a meeting attended by senior GJM leaders.

Meanwhile, a supporter of the GJM’s youth wing tried to immolate himself at Kalimpong on Tuesday.

“Mangal Singh Rajput set himself on fire. We have admitted him to a local hospital. The doctors told me that he is stable and will survive,” Kunal Agarwal, Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling, told The Hindu over telephone from the district.

Mr. Rajput has received 60 per cent burn injuries and was shifted to the ICU of a private nursing home in Siliguri. The incident occurred at Dambarchowk in the Kalimpong subdivision of the hills where a large number of GJM supporters had gathered. Without warning, Mr. Rajput poured petrol on himself and set himself ablaze.

Mr. Gurung described Mr. Rajput as a “brave soldier” and added that “the entire Gorkhaland family” should be praying for his life. “I would also like to ask the Central government how many [more] people have to set themselves on fire for Gorkhaland.”