Morcha chief sows Kalimpong confusion

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung today stirred up a controversy by suggesting that the territory of Kalimpong had not been completely incorporated in the Indian union and it continued to be a land leased from Bhutan.

By Rajeev Ravidas in Kalimpong
  • Published 29.01.16
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Kalimpong, Jan. 28: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung today stirred up a controversy by suggesting that the territory of Kalimpong had not been completely incorporated in the Indian union and it continued to be a land leased from Bhutan.

Addressing the party's public meeting at the Mela Ground here, Gurung suggested that Kalimpong couldn't become a district till the lease was cancelled and India incorporated the area.

"Let the Central government understand this. I don't have to make the state government understand. First the central government must understand; this is a no man's land, lease-hold land, you first show by incorporating this area inside your own Bharat ...Let Bengal's Miss Mamata Banerjee not boast that this is your place. You can never lay claim to it. For this, we will talk to the Indian government, otherwise at the international level," he said.

The land east of the Teesta that includes major parts of Kalimpong subdivision and the Dooars was ceded to the British government by Bhutan through the Treaty of Sinchula signed on November 11, 1865. Subsequently, the British government issued a proclamation regarding the annexation of the Dooars on July 4, 1866, wherin it is stated: "It is hereby declared that the territory ceded by the Bhootan government as aforesaid is annexed to the territories of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen of England."

The one-day old Jan Andolan Party of Harka Bahdur Chhetri was scathing in its criticism of Gurung's statement. "Mr Bimal Gurung's claim today that Kalimpong is a part of Bhutan and that it is not yet fully integrated into Indian territory is simply put, an anti-national statement and the Government of India should take a serious view of it... it sets back our demand for a separate state by a hundred years because the Governments of India and West Bengal will now be sceptical about our people's loyalty to the nation," the party said in a press release.

A senior Nabanna official said there was no territorial dispute between India and Bhutan and Kalimpong is an integral part of India as well as Bengal. "There might be some disputes over the international border with China, but there is no such dispute with Bhutan... If anybody wants to raise question over this, he either does not know the history or he is doing it intentionally to create confusion," said the official.