DARJEELING: The relatively calm Darjeeling hills were back on the boil on Thursday after police officials booked Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung, his wife and associates for the murder of three fellow activists. Though the victims were allegedly shot dead by security forces, the police slapped charges on their leader and associates for murder, conspiracy and assault on police.
But the jean-clad, English-speaking Gorkha youth, who have taken the lead in the movement, are in no mood to relent. For them, Gorkhaland means identity... and also jobs.
As I cruised on a motorbike through the vehicle-free roads of Darjeeling hills, frowns and occasional rebukes from local passerby greeted me. The ‘PRESS’ sticker, however, saved me from further trouble. The general public did not disobey the call for a complete shutdown, as a result of which most people were seen walking long distances to attend rallies.
The Darjeeling hill natives have very diverse demographics, and ultimately united to become ‘Gorkhas’. The term Gorkha is very dynamic. It was Gorkha National Liberation Front leader Shubhash Ghising who gave all residents, who earlier called themselves ‘Nebula’ (Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha), the umbrella term ‘Gorkha’ in 1986.