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Rajiv Gandhi in Darjeeling had said in favour of Gorkhas

Rajiv Gandhi in Darjeeling
Rajiv Gandhi on his way to the North Point Ground Darjeeling in 1986
Read what our late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had said about Gorkhas during his second visit in Darjeeling in 1986.
Darjeeling, 19 Dec 1986: It was his second visit to Darjeeling after Rajiv Gandhi came in power. He reached Bagdogra from New Delhi by flight and reached Lebong helipad by helicopter service.       
There was snowfall in Darjeeling since last three days continuously and there was severe cold wave, Despite the cold climate the people gave him rousing reception. He wore a Nepali cap on his head. The Nepali girls put tilak on his forehead and put the Nepali cap according to tradition.       

Gorkha People have shed their blood for the country: Rajiv Gandhi       

 While addressing the people gathered at the North Point ground, (the then) Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi said, “Gorkhas are intermingled with the Indian culture. The Gorkha brothers have shed their blood for the sake of the country before and during the freedom struggle.” (There was emotional outburst from the hill people to his remark  for it was the first time by any Prime Minister of India who praised the glory of Gorkhas).

Referring to the Gorkhaland agitation and its implication in the country, PM Gandhi said, “today Gorkhas in India are facing two different problems, one is the Gorkha who are settling in India during Indo-Nepal treaty of 1950 or prior to the independence of the country and another is the Gorkha after the treaty. He clarified that no Indian citizenship would be granted to those people who entered into India from Nepal after the treaty of 1950. However he said that the right of life and property would be protected for theirs too. He said that it would help to foster the relationship between India and Nepal.       
Prime Minister disclosed that on next January 8, 1987, a meeting between the Chief Minister Mr. Jyoti Basu and himself would be held in New Delhi regarding the present situation of Darjeeling and the agitation launched by GNLF.       
He said that Gorkhas have played crucial role to make the country strong and further urged to continue the effort to maintain peace in the prevailing situation.       
He also accepted the mistake of the past that many smaller states came into existence on the line of linguistic division. He said that it was not a good trend for the unity of the country. Bengal is not for Bengali people alone, it is for the people of Gorkhas too. Gorkhas must not be treated second class citizens here.       
PM further alleged that the Government of Jyoti Basu could not maintain law and order situation in Darjeeling, and added after an all party meeting, Mr. Jyoti Basu had assured to look into the problem of Darjeeling hill but even after three months had passed, he has not made any such effort.       
PM Gandhi added that he had urged the Chief Minister Jyoti Basu to visit Darjeeling and understand their problems and had urged Jyoti Basu to accompany him during his visit to Darjeeling, but that he (Jyoti Basu) had declined from doing so, the PM added.      

(As published in Himgiri, news weekly, Vol. No. 2, issue: 26 dated December 21, 1986)

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