KOLKATA: Colleagues in Kalimpong on Wednesday prevented Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung from getting his hands on a briefcase which, they feared, contained a gun that he might turn on himself.
The incident shows the pressure under which Mr. Gurung is, given that he had set March 10 as the deadline for creation of a Gorkhaland State.
An emotional Mr. Gurung reached out for the briefcase at a GJM organisational meeting, but was prevented from doing so. Among those present at the meeting, was senior GJM leader Benoy Tamang.
“The incident only goes on to show Mr. Gurung's dedication to the cause of Gorkhaland,” Mr. Tamang told TheHindu over telephone on Thursday. “It is an example of a political leader who meant to do what he had said.” Mr Gurung's detractors, however, dismissed the incident as a “charade.”
It was at a public rally in Kalimpong on October 2007, shortly after the GJM was formed, that Mr. Gurung announced his resolve to take his own life if a separate Gorkhaland State was not formed by March 10, 2010.
The incident comes not just ahead of the political-level talks between the Centre, the State government and the GJM, scheduled to be held in New Delhi on March 18. It occurred at a time when political developments in the Darjeeling hills have been given a new turn by the GJM president's one-time mentor, Subash Ghisingh.