Leader of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha Binoy Tamang today said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee regards him and his party’s general secretary Anit Thapa as the guardians of the Hills and Dooars.
The two Morcha leaders held a meeting with Miss Banerjee at Nabanna in Kolkata today, where, according to Mr Tamang, they discussed peace and development in the Hills and issues related to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
Addressing the Press at Gorkha Bhawan in Kolkata after the meeting, Mr Tamang also said that the Bimal Gurung chapter in the Hills had closed.
“Who is Bimal Gurung? His chapter is closed. Why are you giving such importance to him? He is not in the picture and he is a non-entity. He, along with Roshan Giri, is not in my syllabus. He is neither a subject nor an object for us. We did not discuss him in the meeting today,” Mr Tamang told the press conference.
Later, he issued a statement where he said the GTA will receive additional grants for developmental activities. He also said that the pending issues of the Cinchona plantation would be discussed next week.
“A meeting will also be convened very soon to decide on the pending issues of GTA employees. Additional grants will be given to GTA for the beautification of the Mirik lake,” Mr Tamang said.
“On 30 September, Miss Banerjee had declared that the Development Boards in the hills would function under the supervision of Binoy Tamang, Anit Thapa, and the Principal Secretary of the GTA. A government notification on this will be released very soon,” he added.
“In our discussions, the honourable CM said that Anit and Binoy are the guardians of the Hills.
“As a guardian, you should know how to keep the hills under control and prevail peace in the Hills. I have entrusted the Hills in your hands. I will not at any cost interfere in your work nor will allow anyone to interfere in the Hills. Peace and tranquility of the hills is our priority. I want peace not only in the Hills, but in the entire North Bengal. I, and my party will work to keep the area peaceful. I assure my support to you two,'” the statement quoted Miss Banerjee as saying.
In making the statements Mr Tamang laid to rest speculations that today’s meeting was called by Miss Banerjee to bring about a truce between the two factions of the Morcha, including the one led by Bimal Gurung. Along with Mr Tamang and the CM, those in attendance in the meeting were GTA chairman Anit Thapa, state ministers Firhad Hakim and Aroop Biswas, the chief secretary and the GTA principal secretary. Mr Tamang said that there was peace in the Hills for three years now with no strike, murder or violence, and the same needs to be maintained, “for which we have given suggestions to the government.” Trying to drive home his point that Mr Gurung was not an entity in north Bengal, he said, “The rallies being held in these past few days against Mr Gurung shows the people’s resentment and that they are angry at him.”
He also reiterated that his faction would not share any political or administrative platform with Mr Gurung.
On the different court cases against Mr Gurung, Mr Tamang said, “His matter is sub-judice with about 167 cases against him. He has cases under the UAPA and he has also been declared a proclaimed offender by a court. We have to respect the judicial fabric of our country as no one is above the law. I had to go to jail along with Anit (Thapa) but we have no pending warrants. We respect the court and appear there on the dates given to us. But Gurung is a fugitive.”
Mr Tamang also said that as a citizen of India, Mr Gurung should go through the legal process.