Bimal Gurung addresses the seminar in Darjeeling on Sunday. Picture by Suman Tamang
Darjeeling, Dec. 16: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today took the first step towards a pan-India presence by holding a national seminar where the party made an attempt to be seen as the only political outfit espousing the cause of the Gorkhas across the country.
Morcha representatives from 22 places across the country were present at the daylong event in Darjeeling where four resolutions were passed unanimously.
Morcha president Bimal Gurung made it clear at the conference that he was looking at representing not only the people in the GTA area but also Gorkhas in other parts of the country. “I will be there for each and everyone of you. I know the Gorkha people living in other regions of the country have different problems. Our people in the Northeast are the worst sufferers. Just work out a date and we will accompany you to your respective chief ministers to redress your problems,” Gurung said.
The seminar adopted four resolutions — seeking the formation of a separate state of Gorkhaland, tribal status for all Gorkhas except for those belonging to the SC category, linguistic minority status for the Nepali language across India and the inclusion of more mouzas in the Terai and the Dooars in the GTA.
This was the first national event of the Morcha. The representatives of the party from Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Delhi, Chandigarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Sikkim were present at the seminar.
Addressing the representatives of the Northeast states, Gurung said the party was willing to accompany their delegations to meet the Prime Minister and the home minister.
“I believe in being practical and I will leave no stone unturned to address your grievances,” he said.
Laxman Thapa from Dehradun said despite the Gorkhas being given the Other Backward Caste status in Uttarakhand, it was not of much use because of various “technical problems”.
“It seems that the political leaders there just made the announcement for the sake of making the announcement.”
He didn’t explain what he meant by “technical problems”.
Most of the delegates from the Northeast spoke of perennial insecurity they had to face in the region.
“Our people do not feel secure in our own place in the Northeast. We are always perceived as outsiders,” said Raj Kumari from Manipur.
Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the spokesman for the Morcha, said the demand for Gorkhaland had not been dropped and the GTA was a stepping stone towards achieving the goal.