The arrest of 14 supporters of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (Bimal Gurung camp) on Friday and Saturday has led to their relatives hitting the streets in protest, while the party has condemned the same and said that the arrests were being made on the directions of the state government and “the people who runs the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.” According to the Assistant Public Prosecutor (APP), Darjeeling, Pankaj Prasad, the 14 have been produced in the court and that they were picked up in connection with different cases related to the 2017 Gorkhaland agitation in the Hills.

“Twelve of them have been sent to judicial custody, with them having to be produced in the court on 12 December. Two persons from Lodhama who were arrested for allegedly torching some vehicles have been granted bail,” he said. According to sources, the Morcha supporters are from different places in the Hills, like Rimbick Lodhama, Rangli Rangliot, Singtam, Munda Kothi, Chungthung, and Pokhriabong. Most of the arrested are mere cadres of the Gurung camp, without any designation in the party, party sources said. Condemning the arrests, Morcha (Gurung camp) leader RP Waiba said in a statement that the arrests were being made “under the directions of the state government and the leaders who run the GTA.”

“They are feeling helpless, looking at our recently held meeting at the GDNS (Gorkhka Dukha Niwarak Sammelan hall) which was a success.” “Is it against the law to have a party in a democracy? Is the demand of Gorkhaland unlawful?” questioned the Morcha leader, further appealing to the people to not lose hope as, according to him, the rule of the present state government would soon end. Meanwhile, video clips posted by several media pages and groups and individuals on social media showed relatives of those arrested, especially their wives, in Bijanbari protesting what they called “police atrocities” at the Bijanbari police station.

“Our husbands were arrested late at night without any warrant and without reason. We are here at the police station and asking them on what charges they were arrested, but they are not telling us anything. The OC has also refused to meet us,” said a woman, whose husband was among those arrested, in the video clip. “Cannot we be affiliated to any party in democratic India? We appeal to Darjeeling MP Raju Bista and MLA Neeraj Zimba…to take this to (PM) Narendra Modi,” she said, adding that police were spreading terror in the Hills by “arresting anyone without any reason.”

“My little son is asking me where they were taking his father. What will I tell him? Until when will this go on?” another woman is seen saying in the clip. “We want answers. The janta (public) has to speak now. It is high time that they broke their silence and come up in protest against all this,” one of the women added.