GJM Leader Roshan Giri Returns to West Bengal's Darjeeling District After 3 Years
Roshan Giri, Secretary GJM
Senior Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Bimal Gurung faction) leader Roshan Giri on Saturday returned to West Bengal's Darjeeling district more than three years after slipping out following the police launching a manhunt for him and other party leaders in connection with violent incidents during the 2017 Gorkhaland statehood agitation. The party general secretary is scheduled to address a rally at Kurseong town in the hills on Sunday.
"Our party is with the aspirations of the hill residents," Giri said after landing at Bagdogra airport, which falls under Siliguri subdivision of the district. He was welcomed by the Gurung faction supporters at the airport.
The Kurseong Motor Stand, where the rally will be organised, and some other places in the hills have been adorned with GJM flags. Party president Bimal Gurung may join Giri in addressing a rally at Sibchu next week if the situation is conducive and after gauging the response at the Kurseong rally, sources said.
"India is a democratic country and anyone can go anywhere lawfully," Anit Thapa, one of the leaders of Gurung's rival GJM faction, said while responding to Giri's return. Gurung and Giri had resurfaced in Kolkata in October after remaining elusive for more than three years.
The Bimal Gurung faction broke its ties with the BJP- led NDA and pledged support to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress in next year's assembly elections. The rival GJM faction helmed by Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa is already aligned with the ruling party in the state.
Protests had erupted in Darjeeling on June 8, 2017 during Banerjee's cabinet meeting over the state government's alleged attempts to impose Bengali language in the hills through its education policy. Sporadic violence was reported in different parts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts during the 104-day shutdown that followed.
The prolonged shutdown caused fissures within the GJM leadership and also cost it support from other hill parties, helping Banerjee to seize the opportunity to quell the protests. Gurung and Giri left the hills as Tamang and Thapa emerged as the new faces of GJM, causing a split in the party.