Demand for Gorkhaland: the Darjeeling unrest now turns into a Gorkhaland Movement

 Sapna Bhardwaj, New Delhi –25 June 2017

 In a historic display of solidarity for the Gorkhaland movement, more than 5000 Gorkhas from across the country gathered today at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. People from across the country participated in the event with a 50 member strong delegation from All Assam Gorkha Students Union (AAGSU), representatives from other Indian states of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and other states of the North-East India. Prominent names who brought forward their thoughts today were Rajen Subedi Chhetry, Founder President, Gorkha Youth and Students’ Association; Prem Tamang, President, All Assam Gorkha Students Union; Bikash Basnet, Member, Autonomous District Council- Manipur; Dr. Munish Tamang, General Secretary, National Federation for New States; Pramod Boro , President, All Bodo Students Union; Sam Tamang, President, Arunachal Gorkha Welfare; Dhirendra Bora, Chairman, National Democratic Front of Bodoland; Raja Bundela, Politician Actor, Bundekand Activist; Kiran B. K, Gorkha Activist; Col. Sukul Pradhan (Retd. Indian Army); Dinesh Sharma, Chief Convenor, Gorkha Youth and Student Association of India, Dawa Pakhrin, President, Gorkhaland Rajya Nirman Morcha; Roshan Giri,  General Secretary, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and Swaraj Thapa, Advisor, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

“The Gorkhaland movement is a means of asserting our legitimate claim which has centuries of culture, history, and ethnicity rooted in this geography. It is a movement seeking a political identity who questions the legitimacy of our history, identity, and belongingness to the place. It is against the ‘cultural hegemony’ of West Bengal Government towards the Nepali speaking population of the region. The Nepali language is a recognized Indian language under the 8th schedule of the constitution. There is a continuous attempt to impose Bengali language and culture in every field. Be it education, career opportunities, or daily livelihood of the Gorkhas resulting into violation of their constitutional rights. Delay in the formation of Gorkhaland state would tantamount to the deprivation of democratic rights for self-determination for Gorkhas living across India. It is therefore the moral duty of the union government to bring the Gorkhaland movement to its logical conclusion and honorable settlement at the earliest possible time”, said Dinesh Sharma, Chief Convenor, Gorkha Youth and Student Association of India.

The protestors unanimously condemned the action of State Government forces firing against peaceful protestors. Three young people have lost their lives in the past week and several others arrested.  The meeting placed the following demands to the Government of India.

  • Immediate withdrawal of Army and para-military forces from the Darjeeling hill region and step up trust-building measures with the local population.
  • Release all political prisoners and activists framed with wrong charges and held in police custody.
  • Initiate political dialogue with all concerned parties and take steps towards the creation of Gorkhaland state within the Union of India.

Gorkhas in Delhi have been protesting every day for the last 8 days.

 Timeline of events took place in New Delhi.

  • 18th June – More than 2000 people protests and took out a rally in the heart of Delhi
  • 19th June – Gorkha students at JNU burnt an effigy of Mamata Banerjee protesting the atrocity against the killing of innocent protestors in Darjeeling.
  • 20th June – More than 300 activists visited S.S. Ahluwalia, Member of Parliament, Darjeeling Hills requesting him to speak on the atrocities against the people of Darjeeling. The gathering questioned the silence of the MP on the issue of Gorkhaland and unrest in the hills.
  • 21st June – Activists led Gorkha Students JNU braved heavy rains to protest the government of West Bengal. The protestors submitted a memorandum to the Resident Commissioner of Banga Bhavan.
  • 22nd June – Protestors went on a silent protest at India Gate where more than 150 people were detained for about 2 hours at Tilak Nagar police station of West Delhi.
  • 23rd June – A delegation of activists met Kiren Rijiju, Home Minister (MOS) and also submitted a complaint against shooting peaceful protestors and the ban on Internet.
  • 24th June – Candle light procession at Jantar Mantar.
  • 25th June – Over 5000 protestors assembled at Jantar Mantar.

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