April 24, 2024

Gorkhas of Arunachal rally in support of Gorkhaland movement

TAP | Updated: June 24, 2017


ITANAGAR, Jun 24: The Gorkha community of Arunachal Pradesh hit the streets on Saturday in support of the ongoing statehood movement in West Bengal’s Darjeeling with cries of ‘Jai Gorkha, Jai Gorkhaland,’ and ‘We want nothing else but Gorkhaland’.

Despite heavy downpour, scores of Gorkha men, women and children participated in a peaceful candle light rally by displaying pro-Gorkhaland banners and placards and shouting slogans against the West Bengal government.

The rally, which started from IG Park, culminated at the Itanagar Monastery where the protestors later lit candles in memory of the three victims who were allegedly killed in police firing in Darjeeling on June 17.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family members of Mahesh Gurung, Sunil Rai and Bimal Sashankar (the ones killed). We, the people of Arunachal Pradesh are not supporting the Gorkhaland movement because we want a land in Darjeeling or Kalimpong, but we are here today for our identity,” said All Arunachal Pradesh Gorkha Youth Welfare (AAPGYWA) president Shyam Ghatani.

We are demanding the creation of Gorkhaland to preserve our identity, culture, tradition and most importantly, we are only demanding our rights, he added.

AAPGYWA chairman (action) Chanbir Sonar said that it was high time that Prime Minister Narendra Modi fulfilled his promise made to the Gorkha community.

“Modi asserted he would sympathetically look into the demands of the Gorkhas in his election campaigns but has failed to live up to it. If the Central government can accord statehood to Telangana on the basis of language, why can’t the Gorkhas get a state of their own?” asked Sonar, condemning West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for allegedly terming the Gorkhas as terrorists.

Various unions and organisations such as All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union and All Nyishi Students’ Union participated in the rally.

“The demands of the Gorkhas are genuine as they are not fighting a political or a religious battle. This is the fight for their identity and we solely support it,” said Kame Kipa, president of Arunachal Pradesh Abo Tani Clans Youth Association.

Arunachal Pradesh has been a home to the Gorkha community for many decades. The Gorkha population in the state is believed to be more than 1 lakh.

The Gorkhaland movement was reignited in Darjeeling after West Bengal government decided to introduce Bengali as the second language in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong, Terai, Dooars and certain sections of Siliguri.

Hundreds of protestors under the banner of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha took out a protest rally. But what started as a peaceful protest turned violent, claiming the lives of three civilians and injuring many.

Various protest rallies and solidarity marches are being taken all across the country and beyond in support of Gorkhaland. Several organisations in the North East and those demanding small states have also shown their support for the Gorkhaland movement.

Mass rallies were also taken out on June 22 in various districts of Assam while a Tripura tribal party organised rallies in 29 places across the state on Saturday to support the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state.

Further, the East Kameng Gorkhas Welfare Society also organised   a peace rally to support Gorkhaland on Saturday, and paid homage to the martyrs who had scarified their lives for the greater interest of the Gorkhas. The rally started from Seppa General Ground to Police Station and ended at the general ground.

The indefinite shutdown in the Darjeeling hills completed 10 days on Saturday.