DARJEELING: A day before Calcutta high court resumes hearing the plea against the continued Darjeeling strife which entered its 33rd day on Monday, GJM president Bimal Gurung, who turned 53, chose to keep to him who turned 53, chose to keep t self for the most part of the day.It was the most awaited birthday in the Hills, but the birthday boy was conspicuous by his absence.
The Hills were full of anticipation since the morning.”Daju may make some important announcements regarding the Gorkhalandmovement today since it is his birthday,” said an excited resident of Darjeeling. His supporters would have loved to gift him Gorkhaland for his birthday, but owing to the status quo, they had to make do with only an assurance that they would continue to fight for it.
Amrit Yanjon, the leader of GJM’s Yuva Morcha, said: “It is Bimal Daju’s birthday today . All of us wished him and prayed for his long life. But Daju has said he will not be celebrating today because seven people have lost their lives for the cause of Gorkhaland. He is also not accepting any gifts from anybody . His message to us is to continue our fight for Gorkhaland.” TOI visited Patleybas, Gurung’s native place, around 15km from Darjeeling, on Monday afternoon. Though he was not home, the entire town was out on the streets. The five layers of security across several loops of hills that you have to cross to reach the most famous address may give you the impression that you are already in Gorkhaland.
The last police presence was at the Singhmari Police outpost, around 7km from Patleybas. Groups of young men perched on trees, small hillocks and sitting by the roadside keep and sitting by the roadside keep a keen eye on every vehicle driving in and every stranger trying to sneak into the town, 25km from Darjeeling. Visitors are stopped at least five times at five intersections to make sure no unwanted guest can penetrate the security ring.Close to 200 men stand guard outside the party office near Patleybas Bazar. “Why have you come here? Go back,” said a young man, face partially covered with a black mask.