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Darjeeling MP Ahluwalia diminished Gorkha aspirations into local development issues - BGP

Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP) logo
The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP) would like to applaud Shri SS Ahluwalia, member of Parliament representing Darjeeling Constituency, for his short speech in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday during the debate on the Union Budget in which he referred to some among the many issues confronting the Gorkhas of India. We appreciate the fact that Shri Ahluwalia cited the aspirations of the people of Darjeeling and Dooars and apprised the House about their economic and developmental problems. He rightly pointed out that West Bengal has treated the people of Darjeeling and Dooars as second-class citizens despite two agreements being signed to create the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council and the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
Having said that, the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh would, however, like to point out that Shri Ahluwalia diminished the entire subject of Gorkha aspirations for a separate state into an issue of local development. His speech referred to areas in his constituency like Chopra and Phansidewa and Sevoke Road and to matters of development like smart corridors and educational institutions and other benefits that were “promised during the formation of GTA”. In talking about these matters as being the main problem of the Gorkhas, Shri Ahluwalia seems to clearly think that changing the economic status of Gorkhas of Darjeeling and Dooars would resolve all issues about which the Gorkhas of India have been agitating since 1907.
The real truth behind the demand for Gorkhaland lies not in the economic status of the people of Darjeeling and Dooars, but in the insecurity that Gorkhas across India feel about their national identity and political existence. Resolving the economic issues raised by Shri Ahluwalia in his speech would meet the problems only half-way, and that too only for the Gorkhas living in Darjeeling and Dooars.
He failed to enunciate the real issue, which is of the Gorkhas being discriminated as citizens -- politically, socially and economically -- in other states of India on the erroneous ground that they are foreigners from Nepal who have entered India under the provisions of the 1950 India-Nepal Treaty of Friendship. While he rightly recalled the contributions of Gorkhas in defending India, even eloquently quoting Lata Mangeshkar, he failed to tell the country and the members of Parliament that these very same Gorkhas are treated as foreigners in their own country. The foundation of the demand of Gorkhaland is the need to concretise the Indian identity of Gorkhas, not economic deprivation as made out by Shri Ahluwalia in the Lok Sabha.
The honourable member of Parliament also requested the Speaker of the Lok Sabha to set up a committee to examine the long-pending demands of the region. The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh feels that the Central Government is well aware of all the nuances of the demand of the Gorkhas for a separate state, having been petitioned hundreds of times since 1907. There is no need for any panel to evaluate the problems of Darjeeling and Dooars. Rather, what is emphatically needed is Parliament’s support in bringing a Bill under Article 3 of the Constitution for the creation of a new state and for the setting up a commission to determine the carving out of the Darjeeling-Dooars region from West Bengal to comprise a new state.
 The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh urges Shri Ahluwalia to take all steps to ensure that he represents the true sentiments of the Gorkhas and their demand in Parliament, keeping in mind that the biggest driver of his election from Darjeeling by a massive margin in 2014 was the hope that he would be an able spokesperson for the creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland, which is the only democratic measure that can resolve the identity and political insecurity of India’s Gorkhas.

Report by Mukesh Sharma

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