Home >politics >policy >Gorkhaland: BJP leaders manhandled in Darjeeling

Kolkata: Visiting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders were on Thursday manhandled in Darjeeling by local miscreants, forcing state president Dilip Ghosh to abandon a public meeting and seek refuge in a police station.

Ghosh and his aides were to address a public meeting at an auditorium in Darjeeling, but faced with vehement protests decided to leave the venue. On his way out, he and other BJP leaders were chased and beaten up before they could reach the police station.

Local Gorkha leaders from different outfits such as the Jan Andolan Party (JAP) and the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) have been demanding that the BJP clarify its stand on the demand for Gorkhaland. Visiting BJP leaders faced a barrage of protests on their way to Darjeeling on Wednesday.

Ghosh blamed ousted Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Binoy Tamang and the Trinamool Congress for the attack. The miscreants were acting on instructions from Kolkata to disrupt the BJP’s public meetings in Darjeeling, he alleged.

Anit Thapa, a close aide of Tamang, the ousted GJM leader, said the allegations were baseless and that Ghosh faced public outrage for his own anti-Gorkhaland comments. Previously, Ghosh has said several times that the BJP was not in favour of creating a separate state of Gorkhaland.

The BJP delegation is visiting Darjeeling to assess the ground situation ahead of discussion over the contentious issue at the Union home ministry. Several Gorkha outfits such as the JAP and GNLF are demanding that the BJP clarify its position on the key issue of creating a separate state for the Nepali-speaking Gorkhas.

Ghosh had the backing of GJM president Bimal Gurung, who has publicly announced his support for the visiting delegation. Though Gurung himself is on the run, some of his followers were also present at the auditorium where Ghosh was to speak, but they were outnumbered.

Akhilesh Kumar Chaturvedi, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling district, said adequate police protection was provided for Ghosh’s meeting at the auditorium though the administration had not given written permission for it. The police have started a case against miscreants who attacked Ghosh, he added.

Partha Chatterjee, Trinamool Congress’s secretary general, said the BJP itself is to blame for the Thursday’s incident. The BJP is only trying to disrupt the process of restoring normalcy in Darjeeling, he said, dismissing allegations that the Trinamool Congress was behind the attack.

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