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Darjeeling hills foresee fresh row of unrest

Ambulance that carries Barun Bhujel dead body
SILIGURI: The demise of Gorkha Janamukti Morcha(GJM) leader Barun Bhujel is likely to spark a fresh row of uncertainty in Darjeeling hills. After apparent restoration of normalcy following 104 days long bandh, the hills has started finding political parties jumping into encashing mileages out of the death of that ill-fated victim of political unrest.

The restive hill city Kalimpong went under bandh immediately after the news of Bhujel’s demise at a Kolkata hospital arrived there yesterday. He was Kalimpong Municipal commissioner and a loyal lieutenant of Gorkha Janamukti Morcha(GJM) Chief Bimal Gurung, arrested in charge of possessing arms and rioting.

The impact become deeper today even in Darjeeling, Kurseong as well as foothills after his mortal remains arrived hills. Roads became deserted while many establishments kept shutters down.

Absconding Bimal Gurung, has aired an audio message labeling Bhujel’s death as outcome of brutal torture of Government force supported by Binoy Tamang faction of GJM. After Tamang went against Gurung and caused split in GJM, Government enthroned him as Chairman of Darjeeling’s autonomous Administrative body replacing Gurung.

Sensing hill sentiment against the death, all other anti Gurung but pro-Gorkhaland forces too started taking balanced steps. “We demand a high-level enquiry on this death in custody,” said Binoy Tamang. Think tank of GJM turned to be enemy, Dr. H B Chetri too condemned this incident.

BJP State President Dilip Ghosh also claimed it to be a case of torture in custody and demanded CBI enquiry. Interestingly, BJP used GJM’s suport base to have landslide victory in Darjeeling parliamentary constituency twice. But always maintained distance from GJM’s demand for separate statehood making GJM too displeased. Now Ghosh is trying to use Bhujel’s death as another issue against ruling TMC. As second benefit, this can get him closer to GJM.

Couple of days back, mass sentimental outburst against Bimal Gurung surfaced up in the state following demise of a young police officer during an encounter in Darjeeling jungle. State Government and its ruling party TMC strongly condemned that.

“Now it is Gurung and all other’s turn to utilize Bhujel’s death. These political games over tragic end of lives must end,” said a senior citizen from Darjeeling. 

ET Bureau

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