Siliguri: At the time when the West Bengal state government is planning to hold elections for the semi-autonomous constitutional administrative set-up for the Gorkhas called Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh said no to ‘set-ups’ and asserted demand for a separate state – ‘Gorkhaland for Gorkhas’ – in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Speaking to this correspondent, the Secretary-General of BGP said, the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, the only national social organisation of Gorkhas in India, had been fighting for the rights, empowerment and uplift of the Gorkha community.
“While the Gorkha community faces problems unique to each place of residence, we have discovered that the community’s common problem in any state they are domiciled in is their identity. This problem arises because of their misidentification by official agencies and the mass at large as foreigners,” he said.
“After much research, discussions and debates, Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh has firmly taken up the issue of a separate state of ‘Gorkhaland’ for the Gorkhas of India as the only democratic and enduring solution to the misidentification of the community as foreigners,” said Pun, the first Secretary-General of the BGP from Mizoram.
Elections for the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration in Darjeeling will be held after five years, and the all-party meeting held in Darjeeling on Tuesday confirmed holding GTA elections on June 26.
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung said the political party will go on a symbolic hunger strike to stop this election, while the BJP has also opposed the election. Only the Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Party and Haamro Party, led by former Darjeeling branch GNLF president Ajay Edwards, who won the Darjeeling Municipality Election earlier this year, have consented to participate in the election.
In a telephonic conversation with this correspondent, BGP’s National Working President, Dr Munish Tamang, said, “The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh has pursued the idea of a separate state of Gorkhaland at all forums. We have raised the issue with the central government on numerous occasions, bolstering the demand with other activities like protests at Jantar Mantar, awareness campaigns among non-Gorkhas, national level seminars and discussions and talks with central government ministers, political parties and social organisations.”
“Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh believes that a separate state is the only real solution to the identity issue faced by Gorkhas and rejects any other arrangements forwarded as alternatives to a separate state. Among such arrangements, BGP counts government-installed agencies such as Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council of 1988 and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration of 2012,” Dr Tamang asserted.
Dr Munish Tamang, the President of the National Federation of New States (NFNS), further said, “Both the central government and the state government see such bodies as replacement for or alternatives to a separate state. But such local administrative set-ups do not meet the democratic aspirations of the Gorkhas of India. The rejection of these bodies by the people of the Darjeeling region time after time only reflects the non-dependence of India’s Gorkhas on such bodies to deliver their longstanding demand for a rightful place in the country’s mainstream.
Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh considers the recent discussions and debates around Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, arising from the announcement of elections, as diverting from the crucial issue of a separate state. This is also rekindling and reviving the idea that such local agencies are an alternative to a separate state for the Gorkhas. In this regard, Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh reiterates its opposition to anything short of a separate state, viewing the latter as the only democratic arrangement that guarantees the right of the Gorkha community to self-realisation in their own country.”
Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh also expressed extreme disappointment with the central government and the state government, both of which have promised a “permanent political solution” as sought by the Gorkhas of India but have abjectly failed to deliver on it.
Also read: BJP opposes June 26 GTA polls; GJM boss Gurung to begin fast
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