The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s Founder-President Bimal Gurung and his associates were on Monday suspended by the party’s faction led by Binay Tamang, the Hindustan Times reported. This comes hours after Gurung won a reprieve from the Supreme Court, which directed the West Bengal Police to not arrest him.

The Gorkha body’s General Secretary Roshan Giri and Gurung’s wife Asha were also removed from the front. Anit Thapa will take over as the party’s general secretary.

Gurung (pictured above) and some of his aides have been in hiding for the past four months as the police have filed cases against them under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. He was suspended because of his prolonged absence, Tamang was quoted as saying by Mint, adding that the decision made by 47 members of the central committee is in line with the party’s rules.

In a statement, Giri said the morcha’s move was unlawful. “Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa have already been expelled from the party,” he said.

This development comes a day before West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to meet leaders from the Darjeeling hills in Siliguri, NDTV reported.

The split in the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha occurred over the Gurung faction’s insistence on continuing the shutdown in the Darjeeling hills, which crippled life in the region for months. Tamang was removed from the outfit in September after he called off a planned indefinite shutdown. Gurung had then accused Tamang of being in cahoots with the Banerjee government and betraying the Gorkha community.