|GJM chief Bimal Gurung|
Gurung told the traders to report to him immediately if such calls demanding money in the name of the GJM are made. “You must inform me if you get such extortion calls. You can also lodge police complaints even if the callers claim they are party cadres,” he said.
In April 2014, a man was arrested for demanding money from a Siliguri
businessman. He had claimed to be a GJM cadre and funds were needed for election campaigning. In August again, another person was arrested on extortion charges as he had claimed the funds were to be sent to Gurung and GJM general secretary Roshan Giri.
Kalimpong Chamber of Commerce president Narendra Somani lauded the GJM chief’s stern stance and appealed to all traders to remain vigilant and to report extortion calls. “The Chamber came to
know about the extortion calls only recently,” said Somani. “It is a serious issue and we thought it best to meet the GJM president
and apprise him about it. Gurungji gave us a patient hearing and assured stringent action against party cadres found guilty of extorting money from businessmen and minority community members.”
Gurung is to leave for Delhi on March 14 to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I have already sought an appointment with the prime minister and am hopeful of meeting him. I will take up the statehood demand and remind the prime minister of the BJP’s promise prior to the general election,” he said.
While in Delhi, Gurung will participate in the GJM’s ongoing dharna at
the Jantar Mantar for statehood. The Morcha has organised a nine-day dharna from March 9 to 17 in which GTA sabhasads, the three MLAs from the hills, municipality chairmen, Vidyarthi Morcha members and other party and are participating.