Patlebas Morcha cadres join GNLF

Patlebas Morcha cadres join GNLF
Darjeeling: Nearly 10 years ago, when Bimal Gurung rose to power, Mann Ghisingh, his father Subash and mother Dhanmaya had to abandon their home on Dr Zakir Hussain Road in Darjeeling and spend their days in the plains.

The circle of destiny seems to have been completed for Mann on Sunday when he visited Patlebas, about 5km from Darjeeling town, and held a meeting just 50m below Gurung's abandoned house. The meeting saw 42 families who were once with the Gorkha Jamukti Morcha joining the GNLF.

Mann did not talk about the past when he welcomed the new entrants. "Our doors to those who want Bimal Gurung to return (to the hills) are open as he can never come back after the recent Supreme Court verdict," Mann told his supporters at a community hall. "I do not want to force anyone to join the GNLF. The people of this place have faced innumerable hardships in the past."

The Supreme Court had on March 16 rejected Gurung's plea for transfer of cases to "independent agencies" and anticipatory bail and his allegation of bias by the Bengal government.

When Ghisingh was the tallest political leader of the hills, his son Mann was not much into politics. " Appa (father) always kept me at a distance from politics but after his death, I had to join politics because people were facing a lot of problems," Mann said.

It was for political reasons that Ghisingh had to leave Darjeeling, but Mann also had to face the brunt of the upheaval that swept the hills.

Gurung was Ghisingh's lieutenant before forming the Morcha on October 7, 2007. Soon, Ghisngh was forced to leave Darjeeling on July 26, 2008, a day after a Morcha activist had been killed by a bullet allegedly fired from the house of a GNLF leader in Darjeeling.

In one of the saddest moments for the Ghisingh family, the body of Mann's mother, Dhanmaya who died on August 16, 2008, could not be taken up to Darjeeling for her last rites.

Her body had to be taken back from Kurseong after word spread that Morcha supporters had blocked the road. The last rites were conducted at a crematorium in Siliguri.

Ghisingh returned to the hills on April 8, 2011, to campaign for the GNLF-supported candidates in the Assembly elections but left for the plains again on May 16, 2011, after a Morcha activist Rabin Rai was killed allegedly by GNLF supporters in Sonada.

It was on March 19, 2014, that Ghisingh finally visited Darjeeling - just before the Lok Sabha polls - and had supported Trinamul candidate Bhaichung Bhutia in the polls.

Ghisingh breathed his last on January 29, 2015.

During the 1986 statehood agitation led by Ghisingh, many CPM supporters from Darjeeling had to abandon their homes and take refuge in Siliguri.

The Telegraph

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