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Gurung and team off to Assam on AAGSU invite

AAGSU is holding a cultural event and district conference on February 4 and 5
Bimal Gurung
Bimal Gurung
File picture

Vivek Chhetri   |   Darjeeling   |   Published 03.02.23, 05:08 AM

Bimal Gurung and eight others of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha left for Assam’s Tinsukia on Thursday to attend an event of the All-Assam Gorkha Students’ Union (AAGSU) which invited him “not as a politician but a Gorkha leader.”

AAGSU is holding a cultural event and district conference on February 4 and 5.


Gurung’s invitation to Assam as “a Gorkha leader” is being keenly followed in Darjeeling hills as the Morcha leader along with allies like Ajoy Edwards of Hamro Party and hill leader Binay Tamang have recently formed the pan-India Bharatiya Gorkhaland Sangharsha Samiti to spearhead the demand for Gorkhaland.

Arjun Chetri, president of AAGSU, told The Telegraph that Gurung was the only politician from Darjeeling to receive their invitation.

“The invitation to him is not as a politician but as a Gorkha leader,” said Chetri.

Assam has one of the largest concentrations of Gorkhas in the country. Gorkhas across India have supported the statehood demand every time it has been raised in Darjeeling hills. 

“We are expecting some ministers from Assam to be present during our event,” said Chetri.

The Assam development comes at a time Gurung and his associates are trying to raise the statehood demand after five years. The newly formed samiti has held three meetings in Darjeeling, Delhi and Kalimpong.

“We are looking at roping in representatives from across the country. At the samiti’s Delhi meeting, there were representatives from 19 states. A 21-member committee has been formed. A nine-member committee is working on framing the samiti’s Constitution,” said an insider. The samiti is likely to make an announcement on its Constitution on February 9.

Last week, Gurung’s party also wrote to the President, Prime Minister, Union home minister and Bengal chief minister about their decision to withdraw from the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration pact to formally register their opposition to the hill body they had agreed to in 2011.

Statehood apart, the issue of the “identity” of Nepali-speaking citizens of India, closely related to the Gorkhaland demand, is also taking centre stage, the catalyst being the reference to the Sikkimese Nepalis being of“foreign origin” in a recent Supreme Court verdict.

Hill leaders from Gurungto Binay Tamang to Anit Thapa’s BGPM have backed the Sikkimese Nepalis.

Gorkhaland proponents maintain that the identity of Nepali-speaking Indians will be under question till a new state is formed.

Anit meets Bratya

GTA chief executive AnitThapa and GTA Sabha deputy chairman Rajesh Chowhan on Thursday met state education minister Bratya Basu in Calcutta.

“We had a very positive meeting with him (Basu) on various issues of the GTA region,” said Chowhan, but did not disclose them.

2 trucks catch fire in Jalpaiguri

Two trucks caught fire in two places in Jalpaiguri in the past 24 hours.

Three persons were injured in one of the incidents.

Sources said two trucks, each carrying coal and onion, collided head-on at Asian Highway 48 at Gilandi, Dhupguri area, on Wednesday night, with the coal-laden vehicle bursting into flames on impact.

Two fire engines from Dhupguri doused the flames. Bystanders rescued three injured persons from the trucks who were hospitalised.

A cement-laden truck, on its way to Matiali from Birpara, burst into flames at Chalsa in western Dooars on Thursday.

Fire engines from Malbazar tamed the blaze possibly caused by short-circuit.

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