KOLKATA: A day after Supreme Court awarded a 14-day relaxation on arrest or detention of suspended Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung, the absconding Gorkha leader on Tuesday said in a fresh audio clip that he would make use of the opportunity to visit Delhi for garner support for Gorkhaland statehood and meet jailed Gorkha leaders in north Bengal.
Urging Gorkhas to maintain peace in the hills, he said the Supreme Court order was a tight slap on people branding him 'unconstitutional'.
Charges under Unlawful Practices (Prevention) Act, murder, riot and arson have been pressed against Gurung by the state government. "I would come out soon amid my Gorkha people and carry on the constitutional struggle for Gorkhaland," he said.
On the other hand, in an attempt to win back public support, West Bengal chief minister on Tuesday declared an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of the 12 Gorkhaland activists killed during the 104-day-long agitation in the hills.
The 12 activists were hailed as 'Gorkhaland martyrs' by the agitators. The injured would be given an amount of Rs 50,000.
Speaking at a press conference at Pintail Village in Siliguri on Tuesday after attending an all-party meeting with pro-Gorkhaland parties led by recently crowned GJM president Binay Tamang, the West Bengal chief minister also declared that salaries would be credited to teachers who could not attend schools during the strike and also announced that special classes will be held for students in holidays to make up the losses to education during the strike.
On the other hand, Tamang promised that no more strikes will be called in Darjeeling and the hills are open for the tourists.
Meanwhile, responding to Bimal Gurung's statement that Binay Tamang has no right to suspend him from the party as he was already suspended from GJM on September 1, the new GJM chief retorted saying: "That suspension was not valid as Bimal Gurung did not seek the approval of the central committee to suspend me. He had only called up former general secretary Roshan Giri asking him to suspend me, who then issued a press release announcing the same. On the other hand, the entire central committee has approved suspension of Bimal Gurung and 13 other party functionaries from the party."
Some 37 of 93 GJM central committee members suspended Gurung from president post, Giri from general secretary post and 12 other Gurung loyalists including his wife and Mahila Morcha president Asha Gurung.
The central committee members elected Binay Tamang as the new party chief and his closest ally and Kurseong strongman Anit Thapa to the post of general secretary on Monday.