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Bimal Gurung claims Swami Gorkhaland promise
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s Bimal Gurung camp has claimed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy promised that he would demand creation of “Union territory of Gorkhaland” in Parliament soon and “will not give up till it happens”.
A statement issued by Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Gurung faction, said working president Lopsang Lama and another party leader Urmila Rumba had called on Swamy in New Delhi on Monday.
“The team thanked Swamy for raising the Gorkhaland issue,” the statement reads.
On February 11, Swamy had tweeted: “...Gorkhaland is top priority. Must make it a Union Territory as promised.”

Giri’s statement is accompanied by a video of the team’s interaction with Swamy where the BJP leader is clearly heard saying: “I told you, I am committed. It will be Union Territory of Gorkhaland and I will not give up till it happens”.
Earlier in the video, Swamy said: “We may have a function also in Darjeeling, say 1 May, after I have raised the matter in Parliament.”
When the person recording the video asks Swami whether the issue he will raise in Parliament will be Gorkhaland, Swamy replies: “Obviously, why should I make compromise. I have already said that Gorkhaland as a separate Union Territory is a demand that we have promised you and we have got three Lok Sabha seats out of you.”
The BJP had won the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat for three consecutive terms in 2009, 2014 and 2019.
Later during the day, Swamy also tweeted the delegation’s visit. “In 2019 they proposed my name but I had 3years in RS left so said no,” he tweeted.
He seemed to be implying that the BJP offered him a ticket to contest from the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat in 2019.
During his interaction with the leaders of the Gurung camp, Swamy also gave an impression he had played a pivotal role in the creation of a separate state of Uttarkhand.
Asked how long it might take to fulfil the Gorkhaland demand, Swamy said: “How can I say, baba. I will not let go. Uttarkhand people, when I took up their case, they used to ask me the same thing. Mulayam Singh (the then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh) said I will never, we made him agree.”
Gorkha Rastriya Congress chief coordinator Subodh Pakhrin told The Telegraph that a four-member delegation of the organisation had met Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankar at Raj Bhavan in Calcutta on February 12.
“We told the governor that a white paper issued by the Bengal government in 1986 states that Darjeeling was part of Sikkim and a pragmatic permanent political solution was Darjeeling’s merger with Sikkim,” said Pakhrin
The GRC also supports Citizenship (Amendment) Act. “The governor was aware of our stand on the CAA. He asked us to meet him when he will be in Darjeeling in April or May,” said Pakhrin.

Subramanian Swamy bats for Gorkhaland
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy on Monday met with a delegation from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).
Swamy who had repeatedly reiterated his determination to ensure the formation of a separate 'Union Territory of Gorkhaland' on Monday said that he would not give up till the creation of a separate territory became a reality.
For the uninitiated, Gorkhaland is a region in the northern part of West Bengal. It is administered by the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, semi-autonomous body.
The Gorkhaland movement seeks the creation of a separate state in this region, consisting of the hilly terrain of Darjeeling, as well as the Kalimpong and Dooars areas.
"A delegation of Gorkhas from Darjeeling came visiting to thank me for supporting their just cause. Gorkhas have sacrificed their Darjeeling seat thrice for BJP since 2009. In 2019 they proposed my name but I had 3 years in RS left so said no," he wrote on Twitter after the meeting.
According to a News 18 report, the delegation included senior leader Lopsung Lama and Nari Morcha leader Urmila Rumba.
The Rajya Sabha MP reiterated that Gorkhaland should be made an Union Territory.
"I have already said that ‘Gorkhaland’ as a separate UT is a demand that we have promised to you. We have three Lok Sabha seats out of you,” the [ublication quoted him as saying.
He however added that he could not say how long it would take. Citiing the example of Uttarakhand he said that people there too had asked him a similar question.

"Former UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav said he will not agree...We made him agree,” Swamy said.
He added that he was committed to the formation of Gorkhaland and would not give up till it had been attained.
Earlier, on February 11, Swamy had taken to Twitter to state that it was time for the BJP to start looking at the party's "organisational culture".
Stating that it was a "top priority" he said that the government must make it an UT "as promised".

Responding to comments that did not quite agree with him, Swamy added that "in UP we suddenly talked of Uttarakhand; in Bihar of Jharkhand, in M.P. of Chhatisgarh".
"The BJP kept its promise there. In WB we need to do the same, and in the national interest," he added.
"Why Bengal should be so possessive?" he asked another user.
Swamy's support for the Gorkha movement is not new.
In 2017 for example, Swamy had taken to Twitter to "urge Hindus of Bengal to agree to Gorkhaland in the larger interest of Hindutva and combating appeasement in WB".

BJP leaders in West Bengal, while supporting to the idea of a separate territory, have remained largely non-commital when it comes to the creation of a separate state.
The party's 2019 poll manifesto for example had promised to "work towards finding a permanent political solution" for the area.

Ten Nepalese nationals arrested from Sandhakphu for taking photograph using Drone
Darjeeling, Feb 17 (UNI) Darjeeling Police have arrested 10 Nepalese nationals and confiscated a foreign made drone and other digital equipment from them while they were taking photographs from aerial view at the international border in Sandakphu along the trekkers' trail in the Eastern Himalaya of Darjeeling.
The Seema Surakha Bal first detained them and then handed over to the Darjeeling Police today, Sukia Pokahri police station officer Speaker Hossain said.
Sandhakphu is in Darjeeling district of West Bengal, a border area separating India and Nepal.

Darjeeling hawkers get rehab at Motor Stand
Darjeeling: Hawkers who were removed from Nehru Road near Chowrasta in Darjeeling were rehabilitated along the Hill Cart Road on Monday. They can now set up temporary stalls at the Motor Stand area in the heart of the town after 5pm. A total of 40 stalls will be allowed for the time being.
Last year, Darjeeling Municipality had removed hawkers selling tea, momo, puchka, chowmein, balloons and ice-cream from Nehru Road. Stalls of nearly 180 hawkers, who had temporary stalls near Chowrasta and Mall Road, were pulled down. The civic authorities on Monday allowed 40 of them to relocate. The others will be rehabilitated as well, a source said. Before they were removed, hawkers on Nehru Road kept shops open from 4pm to 9pm every day.
Those who were evicted from Nehru Road last year had termed the move “illegal”. They claimed that under the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2016, there is no provision for eviction and protection of livelihood is a priority. They decided to open the shops again from 4pm. Following the stir, civic authorities held a number of meetings to reach an amicable solution.
“We are thankful to the administration for allowing us to reopen shops after months. Hawkers had to go through a harrowing time since it was a matter of their livelihood. Now we have been allocated a place and we no longer must remain in fear that we will be removed,” said Darjeeling District Hawkers Union president Kundan Dewan. The vendors, who had been removed, were members of the union. The union had later sought intervention of the National Hawkers Federation (NHF) which had attended the meetings with the civic authorities.
“They have been allowed to open their stalls — only after 5pm — on humanitarian basis. We have also kept a condition that they should keep the area clean,” said an official with the municipality. Hawkers have been asked to collect garbage after business hours and dump it in huge moveable dustbin provided by the civic body.

Women plucking tea in Darjeeling
The Darjeeling Tea Association has written to the Tea Board of India seeking intervention to enforce its order in 2014 to prevent illegal import of brew made in Nepal.
Kaushik Basu, the secretary general of the DTA, sent the letter to the controller of licensing at the Tea Board. The letter said tea of other origins, including Nepal, is being sold in the country as Darjeeling Tea, which was accorded the GI tag.
“In 2017, the Darjeeling tea industry had suffered a loss of around 70 per cent in production (as compared to the production of 2016). This led to a vacuum in the market which made some people bring in outside tea and merchandise it as Darjeeling Tea. This is severely affecting the industry as these people are not following the directives issued by the board,” said Sandeep Mukherjee, the principal advisor to the DTA.
In 2016, the tea production in Darjeeling was 8.45 million kilos which dropped to 3.1 million kilos in 2017 because of statehood agitation. In 2018, it climbed to 7.7 million kilos and in 2019, the production was 7.8 million kilos.
In 2014, the then Tea Board chairman, Siddharth, had issued an order restricting illegal influx of foreign tea in the country. As per the order, an importer will have to inform the place of storage of such tea within 24 hours of the entry in India.
“It was also mentioned that the origin and contents of imported tea should be mentioned during distribution or sale and also, no such tea should be passed off as teas of Indian origin,” said a tea planter.
The DTA, however, pointed out that the order had not been properly implemented by the board.
“Many importers do not comply with the order. That is why we have urged the board to take necessary steps,” Mukherjee said.

Gorkha Parisangha calls for land rights protection in BTR
GUWAHATI: The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha has called for protection of land rights of the Gorkha community in the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) in the same manner as they were safeguarded in the earlier Bodo Accords, both in the protected belt and blocks and in other areas of BTR.
The unanimous call was made at the two-day 20th National Council Meet of the Parisangha that concluded here on Sunday.
Representatives of 16 states, three zones, nine regions and several district committees participated in the meet and unanimously resolved to declare the Guwahati Declaration 2020.
In accordance with the Guwahati Declaration, the Parisangha decided to send a delegation to call on the Parliamentary Standing Committee looking into the 125th Sixth Schedule Amendment Bill and present its assertion in the matter of protection and land and constitutional rights living in those areas.
The Parisangha is keenly engaged with the Bill as a Stakeholder in various Sixth Schedule areas of the Northeast.
BGP further appealed to the Centre and the West Bengal government to bring a resolution on the long-pending demand of Gorkhaland with a permanent political solution.
Earlier, a 21-member National Committee of Bharatiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangha – the youth wing of BGP – was sworn in with Nanda Kirati Dewan from Assam as president.

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