The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Morcha ‘warriors’ off to Delhi for statehood

Darjeeling, March 3: Hundreds of Gorkha “warriors” are marching towards Delhi, not to fight a war but to win statehood without the help of guns.

Members of the Bharatiya Gorkha Bhutpurba Sainik Morcha, which was formed under the aegis of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, will voice their demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland on March 5 in front of Jantar Mantar.

In groups of 10 to 20, the ex-serviceman have been leaving the Darjeeling hills on the quiet for the past couple of days. The first batch is expected to reach Delhi late tonight.

“About 325 Gorkha warriors (read ex-servicemen) will take part in the rally. But the war will be without guns,” said Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha.

Not only Darjeeling, but Gorkhas from places like Dehra Dun, too, are expected to take part in the programme. A seven-member delegation headed by Morcha president Bimal Gurung also took a flight to Delhi today. “I plan to address (the ex-servicemen) at the Delhi venue on March 5,” said Gurung.

The ex-servicemen are digging into their own pockets to fund the trip.

“The Delhi branch of the association is trying to seek permission to hold a couple of more rallies in the capital apart from the March 5 meeting, which was scheduled earlier,” said Binay Tamang, the press and publicity secretary of the Morcha.

The ex-servicemen, who were used by GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh to threaten the Centre and the Bengal government during the Gorkhaland agitation in the mid-80s, had switched allegiance en-mass to the Morcha on February 13 this year.

At a meeting on that day, almost a thousand ex-servicemen had unanimously decided to form a new organisation that would fight for Gorkhaland. It had nominated Gurung as its patron.

Capt (retd) S.P. Pradhan had during the formation of the association urged the 40,000 former jawans from across the hills to wake up to the cause.

“If we continue to sleep today, the coming generation will also be forced to sleep. It is time for us to wake up and if our demands are not met, we will surrender our army medals to the President of the country as soon as possible,” Pradhan had said.

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