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Bimal Gurung team meets Kiren Rijiju over Manipur, NCR Gorkha community security concern

Bimal Gurung team meets Kiren Rijiju over Manipur, NCR Gorkha community security concern
In order to strongly counter racial discrimination of the Gorkha community living in various parts of the country, a five-member delegation of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration on Wednesday met Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju and apprised him of the concerns of the Gorkha community of Manipur. The delegation comprised GTA chief executive and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung, Roshan Giri, Binay Tamang, PT Ola and Bikram Rai. They underscored the plight of the Gorkhas living in Manipur in light of the recently passed Protection of Manipur People’s Bill, 2015. Maintaining that the bill has become a contentious issue for the Gorkhas living in that state, Gurung said the imposition of an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to restrict outsiders in Manipur would label the sizeable number of Gorkhas living in that state since ages as ‘outsiders’ or ‘foreigners’. He urged the minister to get the cut-off year policy in the new Bill rectified, pointing out that if all Indian citizens who settled in Manipur before 1951 were to be tagged as ‘Manipuri people’, the move would be too arbitrary and could lead to the labelling of some sections of the state’s population as ‘outsiders’, which should not be the case. “The current imbroglio surrounding the ILP issue in Manipur has once again made the Gorkhas of that state vulnerable to racial discrimination, with various groups calling for ethnic communities to leave the state, after labelling them as outsiders,” said Gurung. “The cut-off year policy should not be implemented under any circumstances as it would only serve to ignite insecurity among the Gorkhas residing in Manipur before and after the so-called cut-off year of 1951, prompting some members of the indigenous population to create mayhem.”  In response, Rijiju assured the GTA delegation of ensuring safety to the Gorkhas and other minority groups living in Manipur. He said, “The relationship between ethnic communities and the natives has always been a little sensitive in Manipur. Hence, all measures will be adopted to make sure the interests of the Gorkhas and other minority groups are not affected.” According to GTA sources, the delegation has invited the minister to Darjeeling in October, while Bimal Gurung and other GJM leaders will visit Dibrugarh in Assam on September 5 to attend a programme organised by the All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union. Commenting on the demands being made by the Gorkha Youth and Students’ Association of India, the GTA chief said the demonstrations will continue until the government relents. GYASA members on Tuesday met with the delegation members and apprised them of the concerns of Gorkha students residing in Delhi and other parts of the country. Raising the concerns arising out of the Inner Line Permit in Manipur, GYASA members urged Gurung to take up the matter with the Centre. The GTA cheif informed that an Emergency Helpline number and a Legal Counselling Office have been set up at the Gorkha Welfare Centre in New Delhi, the helpline number being 011 – 26104971. (EOIC)

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