One to One with Bimal Gurung
DT: How far have we reached in the process of Gorkhaland achievement after the formation of GJMM? What are your experiences and what did you learn during the period of 10 months of non violent Gorkhaland agitation?
BG: Undoubtedly, we have learnt a lot through the ongoing Gorkhaland movement but at the same time there is a lot more to learn and experience. Indeed we have received enormous support but then at the same time we are under severe criticism as well. We still have to hold discussions and debates to elicit public opinion so that we will be able to take the movement in the right direction as far as possible.
DT: Are you confident about the present movement and can you repeat the same statement that you had made at the beginning of the agitation…. that Gorkhaland will be achieved by or before March 2010?
BG: Yes, definitely we are going in the right direction since 60% of the work has been completed while 40% of the work still needs to be worked upon. Well, regarding my stand on the date for the achievement of Gorkhaland by March 2010, I guess I am still extremely positive about it. This is mainly so because I believe that I have not taken into the movement for any ulterior motive. On the other hand there are people who simply join the movement because they aspire at some point to be an MP or an MLA or a councillor and so on. I simply take it as my moral responsibility to provide an identity for the one crore twenty lakh deprived Gorkhalis around this world. Moreover I have already made it clear to the public that I will ultimately bring the Bengal and Central Government to its knees until they themselves will finally offer us our demand for a separate homeland.
DT: Are you still taking advice from the intellectuals which you always profess are behind this movement?
BG: Yes, definitely. We never have and we never would do anything without first consulting our intellectuals. They have always been very supportive but till date they remain in the “underground”. However, in case of a crisis then they are ready to come to the fore as well in order to give the movement its necessary impetus.
DT: How is your relationship with Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh?
BG: We are not opposed to anyone since it is the time for everyone to stand united. However, personally I feel that the Bhartiya Gorkha Parisangh with its elite members and high political reach suffer naturally from pride which prevents them from trusting an amateur like me in the field of politics and at the same time they are so wrapped up in their elite world that they seem to have lost all connections at the grass root level which comprises the major portion of our community. It’s simply pride and nothing else but I still say that we all must take a stand together.
DT: Why is Sikkim not being as helpful as expected? Do you think that there is diplomatic problem between Darjeeling and Sikkim?
BG: I personally feel that there is no diplomatic problem between Darjeeling and Sikkim .It is simply a case of misunderstanding. In 2005 the Chief Minister himself had assured us of help in all forms for the attainment of a separate state. Falling back on this assurance after the formation of GJMM, we did send three delegations to Sikkim with regard to this ongoing movement. However the response was lukewarm. Yet we did not have any issues but the final blow came when legal action was taken against us with regard to the blockade of NH31.This was a matter which could have been solved diplomatically through dialogue considering the deep bond which we share with Sikkim. However we do not directly blame Dr.Pawan Chamling since we feel that he is being misled by a small lobby which is against Gorkhaland and who are simply interested in selfish gains.
DT: How is the GJMM handling the case of Chattrey Subba? What are the steps being taken in that respect?
BG: We simply cannot deal with this issue in a political manner, slogans and propaganda will simply not help. It is a legal problem and it needs to be solved legally. Therefore regarding this we have already engaged five lawyers who are being paid Rs.8000 each for the case. We definitely hope that there will be immediate results as we are very committed to this cause and I never go back on my words.
DT: What do you say with regard to the anarchic situation that followed after the murder of PRAMILA SHARMA?
BG: The situation was unprecedented no doubt. However since a lady was murdered in broad daylight for no obvious reason the general public definitely spiralled out of control due to the atrocity of the whole situation. It is the fault of the authorities concerned who never took the whole situation of the GNLF members earnestly. I had constantly warned them with regard to their illegal possession of arms and their usual conspiracies. However since they never paid heed to the graveness of the situation the anarchy was bound to follow sooner or later….only we never thought that the victim would be a harmless woman.
DT: Why did the GJMM not let the last rites of Mrs.Ghising from taking place in Darjeeling?
BG: I am thankful that you asked me this question because I wanted to clarify a few things regarding this issue. Firstly, it was neither mine nor the party’s diktat to stop the last rites of Mrs.Ghising from taking place in Darjeeling. If I was taking a double stand then I would never have allowed a safe passage to Siliguri for Ghising on the 26thof July in the first place. Then again I even made a personal call to instruct the public as to let the bereaved come up to the hills. Unfortunately, by the time this message reached the angry mass, Mohan Ghising had already turned back. Moreover it must be taken into account that people never intend to forget Ghising’s betrayal which revealed itself in the almost empty funeral procession.
DT: Is it true that GJMM is making the properties of GNLF leaders public?
BG: Yes, but it is not as bad as it sounds. This is because we all know that the GNLF leaders during their reign of terror had amassed a huge amount of wealth from the public development funds. Therefore, it is only morally correct to take back to the public whatever is rightfully theirs.