Ousted GJM leader conducts ‘apolitical’ candle light rally in Darjeeling

Five days after it expelled him for “anti party activities”, GJM’s former Assistant General Secretary Binay Tamang led a candlelight rally here on Wednesday to demand restoration of peace in the north West Bengal hills.

Terming his rally “apolitical”, Tamang said he got positive response from the locals.

“This is an apolitical rally, aimed solely at bringing back peace in the hills. There are no political slogans, banners or flags. Many people have congratulated me for the initiative and said they participated in the march. It is peace rally,” Tamang told IANS.

“However, the GJM has asked the people of Darjeeling to stay indoors after four. This is not right and it is a Talibani dictate. No gain will be reaped from such dictation,” he said.

Tamang also indicated, before the commencing the rally that Gorkha Janmukti Morcha might try to impede their initiative.

“We have received some report that there might be attempts to impede the rally and informed police accordingly,” he said.

Meanwhile, GJM chief Bimal Gurung, in a video message, said the ousted party leader has to “correct” himself before he would be included in the party.

Asked about the video message, Tamang said, “What mistakes did I commit? He should say what mistakes I committed. He should come back to Darjeeling and lead the people’s movement. We welcome this.”

The rally was taken out on the 84th day of the GJM-sponsored indefinite shutdown called in the northern West Bengal hills demanding a separate Gorkhaland state.

Tamang, who was also the chief coordinator of the party, was expelled along with party colleague on September 1 on charges of conspiring with the state’s Mamata Banerjee government to derail the Gorkhaland movement.

Earlier in the day, West Bengal Tourism Minister Goutam Deb on Wednesday took out a peace rally in Kurseong’s Garidhura.

“We are getting a good response from the people of Darjeeling as they are fed up with ongoing shutdown. People in the hills are with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and they want development. Many of the shops, schools and offices opened up and transporters started their services. Life is crawling back to normal in Kurseong, Mirik and many other areas in Darjeeling hills,” Deb said during the rally here.

The leader of the ruling Trinamool Congress said the situation in the hills would be almost back to normal before the all party meeting to be held on September 12.

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