Bimal Gurung

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Bimal Gurung
विमल गुरुङ
Personal details
Born (1964-07-17) 17 July 1964 (age 54)
. Pathley Bash
NationalityIndian
Political partyGorkha Janmukti Morcha
Children2
Websitebimalgurung.in

Bimal Gurung (Nepali: विमल गुरुङ्ग) was the leader of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) an Indian political party that is one of the parties demanding the formation of a separate state of Gorkhaland within India. He was the chairperson of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration which is a semi-autonomous body which governs the hilly ares or Darjeeling District and terai within the state of West Bengal.

Bimal Gurung has been in hiding since 2017 for fear of being arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act after he and his aides were allegedly held accountable for breach of peace in the Darjeeling hills.[1][2][3]

DGHC[edit]

Bimal Gurung was formerly a Gorkha Volunteers Corps member who fought for the creation of a Gorkhaland state in India during 1986-1988 under the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF).[4] He became a councillor representing Tukver constituency in the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) after the previous councillor Rudra Pradhan was murdered in Darjeeling. He became a close aide of Subhash Ghisingh, the leader of GNLF and chairman of DGHC. Later, he turned against his mentor to launch the second agitation for a Gorkhaland state.

Sixth Schedule[edit]

The fourth DGHC elections were due in 2004. However, the government decided not to hold elections and instead made Subhash Ghisingh the sole caretaker of the DGHC till the Sixth Schedule council was established. Most of the other political parties and organizations opposed the setting up of a Sixth Schedule Tribal Council as there was only a minority tribal population in the DGHC area. Resentment among the former councillors of DGHC also grew rapidly. Among them, Bimal Gurung decided to break away from the GNLF.[5] Riding on a mass support for Prashant Tamang, an Indian Idol candidate from Darjeeling in 2007, Bimal quickly capitalized on the public support he received for supporting Prashant, and was able to overthrow Ghisingh from the seat of power. Ghisingh resigned from the chairmanship of the DGHC in March 2008[6] and shifted residence to Jalpaiguri. GNLF lost most of its support and cadres to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, a new party headed by Bimal Gurung.

Gorkhaland demand[edit]

Immediately upon formation of GJM, Bimal renewed the demand of the formation of a Gorkhaland state comprising the Darjeeling district and many areas of the Dooars. The total area of the proposed state is 6450 km2 and comprises Banarhat, Bhaktinagar, Birpara, Chalsa, Darjeeling, Jaigaon, Kalchini, Kalimpong, Kumargram, Kurseong, Madarihat, Malbazar, Mirik and Nagarkatta.[7] Unlike the 1980s, GJM has maintained that the struggle for Gorkhaland would be through non-violence and non-cooperation.[8] Bimal received mass support from the people of Darjeeling district, Dooars and other parts of India for his statehood demand.[9]

But after the contentious issue of the broad-daylight murder of former ABGL chief Madan Tamang in May 2010, to which Gurung is believed to be heavily linked, many key GJM leaders such as Trilok Dewan, Amar Singh Rai, Amar Lama, Anmole Prasad and Palden Lama resigned from the party, leading to massive speculation about the veracity of Gurung's statement denying his party's links with Tamang's murder.

Darjeeling returned to normalcy in 2011 after TMC-INC coalition government came to power in West Bengal. Tripartite GTA agreement was signed between the government of India, West Bengal government, and GJM in 2011.[10] But it seems short lived and GJM has again raised the issue of Gorkhaland & given call for an indefinite bandh in Darjeeling in June 2017.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "As NIA initiates preliminary enquiry in Darjeeling, Bimal Gurung, in hiding, welcomes move". The Indian Express. 2017-11-05. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  2. ^ "Darjeeling abandoned: Bimal Gurung hiding, CM Mamata Banerjee playing waiting game, MP Ahluwalia missing". India Today. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  3. ^ "SC order dismissing GJM leader Bimal Gurung's plea seeking protection from arrest could alter political calculus in hills - Firstpost". www.firstpost.com. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  4. ^ "Prisoner of rhetoric". Times of India. 24 July 2011.
  5. ^ "Smouldering hills". Frontline. 21 December 2007.
  6. ^ "Subhas Ghising resigns". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008.
  7. ^ "Why Gorkhaland?" (PDF). GJM official. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 May 2011.
  8. ^ "GJM places demands, Buddhadeb says no division of West Bengal". The Hindu. 9 May 2008. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011.
  9. ^ "GJM leader Bimal Gurung: Utterly self-possessed and apparently ruthless". Rediff.com. 3 June 2010.
  10. ^ "Darjeeling tripartite pact signed for Gorkhaland Territorial Administration". The Times of India. 18 July 2011. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012.
  11. ^ "Gorkhaland agitators step up Darjeeling shutdown". hindustantimes.com. 2017-09-01. Retrieved 2018-02-28.