KOLKATA: As fresh clashes erupted between Gorkhaland supporters and policemen on Saturday leading to the injury of two protesters, a poster signed by ‘Gorkha Janmukti Morcha/Maoist’ in Darjeeling calling for an armed rebellion for a separate state has sent the Gorkhas into a tizzy.
The poster, written in red ink, typical of Maoists, asked Darjeeling DM Jayashree Dasgupta and SP Akhilesh Chaturvedi to leave the hills within three days. It also hailed GJM supremo Bimal Gurung and urged the Gorkhas to wage armed struggle for Gorkhaland statehood.
The poster, signed off as ‘GJM/Maoist’, read, "Beware! Beware! Beware! If the DM and SP do not leave the district within three days, we will start an armed rebellion. Jai Gorkha! Long live Bimal Gurung!"
"We are sure that the agitators in the hills have put up the poster. We will take strict action very soon," Darjeeling SP Akhilesh Chaturvedi told New Indian Express.
On the other hand, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said that the party was not behind the poster. "It is a conspiracy to malign the Gorkhaland agitation and bring a bad name to GJM by associating us with the Maoists," he told New Indian Express.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has repeatedly blamed China and Nepalese Maoists of helping the Gorkhaland agitation. However, Gorkha leaders have demanded proof for the allegations made by the state government.
However, spelling mistakes and sentence construction in the poster have cast doubt over its authenticity. Several Gorkha youngsters pointed out in social media that instead of the Nepali word 'Hoshiyaar' for 'Beware', Bengali word 'Hushiyaar' was written. Similarly, ‘Chodera’ (to leave) was written as ‘Chorera’ and ‘Bhitra’ (within) were written as 'Bhitar' (Bengali word for within). Lastly, Bimal Gurung was also misspelt, which raised serious doubts over the authenticity of the poster and was seen by many Gorkhaland supporters as a move by the state administration to bring in more forces in the hills.
Meanwhile, two Gorkhaland supporters were seriously injured along with two policemen when a scuffle broke out over a khukuri rally in Sukna in Darjeeling district on Saturday.
The two injured protesters Sonam Tamang and Ajay Chhetri have been shifted to hospitals in Siliguri.
According to sources, the Gorkhaland supporters from Mahanadi, Tindharey and Garidhura areas took out a khukuri (Nepalese dagger) rally till Sukna as the present phase of indefinite strike entered its 45th day on Saturday and became the longest indefinite strike in the history of Gorkhaland agitation. The region witnessed 44-day-long strike in 2013 and 40-day strike in 1986.
However, when the protesters were confronted by police, a few of them allegedly pelted stones to which police responded by firing tear gas shells and water cannon.
Footage showing policemen vandalising common cars lines up along the main road also circulated in the social media.
Essential supplies are at an all-time low in the hills due to the indefinite strike which is a marked shift from the earlier strike where hill residents were given periodic relief to replenish their food stocks. However, the current strictness of the strike may be attributed to the death of eight Gorkhaland supporters since the beginning of the present phase of agitation on June 8.