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GNLF supporters assaulted for abusing Bimal Gurung near Ghoom railway station

GNLF supporters shout slogans in front of the Jorebunglow police station
Supporters of the Gorkha National Liberation Front on Wednesday blocked National Highway 55 near the Ghoom railway station in protest of the assault on them allegedly by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. The incident took place around 3:30pm when the GNLF supporters were returning home after attending the death ritual of Subash Ghisingh, the GNLF founder.

An eyewitness who did not wish to be named said GNLF supporters started abusing GJM president Bimal Gurung who happened to be returning home to Darjeeling from Maneybhanjyang. He said, “Some GNLF supporters started using foul language as soon as they spotted the GJM president’s convoy. Hearing this, some GJM cadres alighted from their vehicles and started beating up the GNLF supporters.”

Subash Ghisingh died on January 29 in a Delhi hospital and was cremated in his ancestral home at Manju tea garden in Mirik. As per Buddhist custom, his death ritual (Ghewa) was held today after 21 days at his Dr. Zakir Hussain Road residence in Darjeeling.

When word of the assault spread, GNLF activists demonstrated in front of the Jorebungalow police station demanding the arrest of the GJM supporters involved, including Gurung. They also lodged a written complaint against the GJM chief and his supporters. According to the GNLF, Gurung’s men attacked and injured two supporters and also damaged a vehicle. Bishal Mukhia, a GNLF supporter from Pokhraybong who was assaulted, said, “We were on our way back to Pokhraybong when the GJM convoy stopped and Gurung’s men started attacking us unprovoked.”

The driver of a Maruti Alto car who also got beaten up, said, “I have no political affiliation and was simply hired to drive. Some GNLF supporters in my car started shouting expletives and I pleaded with them to desist. Suddenly, Gurung’s convoy stopped right in front of my car and his men started attacking us,” he said, but refused to say what type of abusive language had been used.

Pokhraybong-Nagri area GNLF coordinator Nawal Bomzon claimed they were only shouting slogans in praise of their late party chief. “We were shouting ‘Long Live Subash Ghisingh’ when we were assaulted,” he said.

GJM general secretary Roshan Giri rubbished the allegations asserting it was the GNLF who instigated the incident. “Our president’s convoy was returning from Maneybhanjyang when a vehicle carrying GNLF supporters started using abusive language. The ensuing assault was the spontaneous reaction of the public,” he said.

Acknowledging the receipt of the GNLF complaint against Gurung and some of his men, Darjeeling SP Akhilesh Chaturvedi said, “There was a confrontation between GNLF and GJM supporters at Ghoom this afternoon. We have assured the complainants of arresting those involved in the assault.” (EOIC)

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