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Amid Darjeeling Violence, GJM Plans to Revive Its 'Peacekeeping' Wing

"We will revive and recruit more youths in GLP our own peacekeeping force. We are not into any kind of violence nor is GLP into this. But we have to prepare ourselves."

Updated:June 18, 2017, 11:40 AM IST
Amid Darjeeling Violence, GJM Plans to Revive Its 'Peacekeeping' Wing
GJM workers protesting during the stir in Darjeeling. (Image: PTI)
Darjeeling: WIth the Gorkhaland issue set to drag on, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) is planning to revive its "peacekeeping" wing, the Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) to help in its stir against the West Bengal government.

The GLP, a brain child of GJM chief Bimal Gurung, came during the 2008 agitation for Gorkhaland. Gurung proposed that the party recruit youths from the hills and set up a force to ensure peace.

The outfit was first named Gorkhaland Police, but after opposition from various quarters it was renamed Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP).

In 2008, Gurung had then held a meeting with former army personnel and officers from the hills and requested them to take charge of selection, recruitment and training of the youths.

ALSO READ | Reserve Battalion Officer Stabbed by GJM Supporters as Clashes Rock Hills

The criteria for a place in this force was education upto standard eight and of course physical fitness and agility. After initial selection, nearly 3000 youths were trained for joining GLP.

The force in 2009 enforced bandhs called by GJM, ensured that locals wear traditional Nepali attire at least thrice a week, seize and destroy liquor and provide protection to Gurung and top GJM leaders.

Paid only a paltry allowance, the GLP youths were promised to be absorbed into the police force after the creation of Gorkhaland. However, GLP took a back seat and most of its trained youths were absorbed into GJM youth wing instead following the formation of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration in 2011.

"The situation is getting worse with each passing day. We feel that a head-on collision is just a matter of time. So we need to prepare ourselves to counter the state government democratically," GJM central committee member and former in-charge of GLP Colonel (retd) Ramesh Alley told PTI.

"We (GJM) will revive and recruit more youths in GLP our own peacekeeping force. We are not into any kind of violence nor is GLP into this. But we have to prepare ourselves," he said.

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GJM, Alley said, wants to raise an 8000-strong force in Darjeeling hills which will be well prepared to tackle "any kind of situation".

"During GTA, the state government had promised that these youths would be absorbed in the state police force but nothing of the sort happened. Now we no longer have any expectation from the state government. We are Indians and we hope that the Centre will take action to resolve the crisis in the hills," Alley said.

After Bimal Gurung's office and other premises of GJM were raided in this latest round of agitation, the party leadership decided to revive the force to counter the alleged police atrocities.

Alley and other GJM leaders pointed out they are not for any armed struggle as that would mean taking up arms against the Centre.

ALSO READ | Mamata Admits Darjeeling Violence Was a Result of Intel Failure

"We have been soldiers all our life. We can never think of armed struggle against the Centre. We love our motherland India, but we want a separate state. It is a fight for our own identity," Alley said.

Darjeeling has been on the boil for the past ten days and indefinite shutdown is on by GJM in support of its separate Gorkhaland demand.

Reacting to GJM's decision to revive GLP, senior TMC leader and minister Gautam Deb said "We all know that GJM is a separatist force. So it is expected that they well set up a militant organisation. But we will not allow such separatist forces to grow."

The police said they are keeping a close watch on all the activities of GJM and will do the needful.

(With inputs from PTI)
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