Baichung Bhutia goes against TMC party line, expresses support for separate Gorkhaland

The former footballer claimed that even sections of Bengalis supported the Gorkhaland movement.

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Baichung Bhutia goes against TMC party line, expresses support for separate Gorkhaland
Mamata Banerjee and Baichung Bhutia


Eminent ex-footballer and TMC leader Baichung Bhutiya has expressed his support for a separate Gorkhaland. As per reports in Anandabazar Patrika, Baichung Bhutiya has said that he is personally in support for a separate Gorkhaland. According to Baichung, during his visit to the hills, said he has spoken to several TMC leaders and bureaucrats. According to him, there is an undercurrent of support for Gorkhaland among them, but no one is willing to say it out loudly.

The legendary footballer claimed that even sections of Bengalis supported the Gorkhaland movement. 

Baichung has unsuccessfully contested for TMC in both Assembly and Parliamentary elections. He is currently the head of North Bengal Sports development Council. Baichung, originally hailing from Sikkim has spent the better half of his footballing career playing for Kolkata Maidan giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. Reacting to Baichung's comments, Minister Gautam Dev said that he has no clue why such comment was made and would ask the former player for clarification.

The comments unlikely to go down well with TMC supremo and Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.  She had said after the GJM protest had ended: “It's good news. We want restoration of peace and wellbeing of the people there (in Darjeeling)." The  bandh for a separate Gorkhaland state lasted for 78 days. 

GJM supporters clash with police

Pro-Gorkhaland supporters today clashed with the police after attacking a school bus and ransacking several shops in Kalimpong district in the Darjeeling hills, police said.

Police baton-charged the protesters and arrested 12 GJM supporters.

The incident took place when Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters, who were picketing on the streets of Kalimpong to enforce the indefinite shutdown which entered its 93rd day today, tried to stop a school bus.

GJM supporters pelted stones at the bus and ransacked several shops which tried to reopen today, the police said.

The police initially tried to pacify GJM supporters, but they pelted stones at the police injuring few police personnel.

Police and security forces were patrolling the streets to avoid any untoward incident.

Several shops and markets which had reopened in Kalimpong yesterday downed its shutters.

GJM chief Bimal Gurung had yesterday asked partymen to intensify the bandh and said the shutdown will continue till a tripartite meeting was convened by the central government.

He had also asked the GJM cadre to intensify the bandh in the hills and ensure that no one made an attempt to break it.

Though the state-run North Bengal State Transport Corporation plied a few buses, they were escorted by security personnel.

The buses were operating from Siliguri to Darjeeling via Kurseong. Buses were also plying between Siliguri and Mirik in Darjeeling district, police said.

For the seventh day in a row, the police, along with the administration, appealed to the locals via public address systems to open shops and restore normalcy in the hills.

Peace rallies were taken out by residents in Kurseong, Darjeeling and Mirik.

GJM supporters took out rallies in some parts of Darjeeling, Sonada and Kalimpong supporting creation of Gorkhaland and the ongoing shutdown, police said. 

With inputs from PTI

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