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Bimal Gurung unveils Kamansingh Ramudamu statue in Darjeeling

Bimal Gurung unveils Kaman Singh Ramudamu statue in Darjeeling
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung on Thursday announced a road in Darjeeling town would be named after the late Kamansingh Ramudamu, one of the founding members and vice-president of the party on the veteran leader’s 85th birth anniversary. The GJM president also unveiled Ramudamu’s statue in front of the Raj Bhawan. Gurung made the announcement in a programme organised by the All India Nepali Scheduled Caste Association (AINSCA) at the Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan in honour of the late GJM leader.

Speaking to a capacity crowd, the GJM leader said, “He (Ramudamu) was both a father figure and a mentor to me. His contribution to the hill society and in particular to the scheduled caste community cannot be evaluated by words. He was also the GJM party’s founding member and advised me in all aspects, be it political or otherwise.”

In the morning, Gurung unveiled an eight feet tall brass statue of the former GJM vice president near Raj Bhawan on Mall Road. The statue was made in Siliguri at a cost of Rs3.5 lakh and has been sponsored by GJM. Recollecting his association and interaction with Ramudamu in the party, Gurung said, “He was our political guardian. He was very simple

and humble but at the same time minced no words to express his thoughts, a quality which I liked very much”.

He added, “In fact, during the previous regime (read Gorkha National Liberation Front) when the Sixth Schedule issue was at its height and any dissent would

result in people disappearing, Ramudamu did not stop sort from voicing his opposition. This showed his commitment.”

GNLF president Subash Ghisingh had raked-up the issue of implementing the Sixth Schedule in the Darjeeling hills and had even signed a Memorandum of Settlement with the state and central governments in December 2006, Ramudamu was one of the first to oppose it, asserting doing so would create divisions among the people. Such was Ghisingh’s obsession with the issue that he enforced religious diktats much against the people’s consternation.

As a result, when the GJM party was floated in October 2007 and Gurung rode the anti-Sixth Schedule wind and helped hill boy Prashant Tamang win a reality singing show and with the murder of a GJM woman activist, GNLF leaders including Ghisingh were ousted from the hills in 2008. Gurung remembered that Ramudamu who also served as the president of the AINSCA was initially reluctant to join the GJM. “When I approached him with the idea of floating the GJM party, Ramudamu was hesitant. At the time he was working for the SC community and did not want to give a political colour to his activities. But, later he joined the GJM, just so that he could work for the uplift of the hill people,” the GJM president said.

The former GJM vice president indulged in writing books and articles in various national and vernacular newspapers. Ramudamu has also translated a section of the Indian Constitution, pertaining to the scheduled caste and tribes in simple Nepali for the benefit of the

general public. Today, the GJM leader also announced that the road leading from the post office at Chowk Bazar to the Eden (district) hospital in the heart of the town would be henceforth known as “Kamansingh Ramudamu Path” and said that the municipality had been directed to start the process.

The GTA, since the last two years, has also started an Old Age Pension scheme for the elderly in Ramudamu’s name, who breathed his last on July 17, 2008 in Kolkata while undergoing medical treatment.

Ramudamu was born on July 23, 1930 in Kurseong. He did his schooling from St. Alphonsus’ School in Kurseong and completed his graduation from Calcutta University. Ramudamu first worked as a clerk in the Kurseong municipality and later joined the Northern Frontier Railway (NFR) also as a clerk and retired in the 1980s as a divisional

accounts officer. Members of the AINSCA expressed gratitude to the GJM president for installing Ramudamu’s statue and said it would help bond the various sub-sects of the community.(EOI)

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