A massive search operation was launched today in Darjeeling and adjoining areas for Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Bimal Gurung, even as the indefinite shutdown in the hills entered its 80th day.
The police had yesterday issued a lookout notice against the GJM chief for his alleged involvement in various cases, including a bomb blast in Kalimpong police station in which a civic volunteer was killed.
The bandh continued after Mr Gurung revoked party convenor Binay Tamang's decision of suspending it till September 12, when the next round of dialogue with the state government is scheduled.
The GJM chief also expelled Mr Tamang yesterday on the charge of "violating the party line and indulging in anti-party activities".
Questioning the decision, Mr Tamang today lashed out at Mr Gurung and party general secretary Roshan Giri. "I do not need to take lessons from them. I am a son of the soil and am fighting for the interests of my Gorkha brothers. I want to ask Gurung and Giri, if they are so concerned about fighting for Gorkhaland, why did they send their families abroad so that they can be safe?" he asked.
Meanwhile, chairman of Kurseong municipality, Krishna Limbu was arrested today for his alleged involvement in cases of arson and violence in the hills in June this year.
Protests by pro-Gorkhaland supporters have rocked various parts of the hills in support of the shutdown. Picketing by GJM supporters has been strengthened in several areas, and posters and leaflets were distributed in support of the bandh.