Members of the Gorkha community living in and around Mumbai gathered at Azad Maidan on Thursday to protest the killings of three persons amid protests in Darjeeling, and to demand the restoration of peace and guarantee of fundamental rights. Community members condemned the killing of people “by the West Bengal Police” and the subsequent blackout of Internet services. “Our immediate attention and agenda lies in restoration of peace and our fundamental rights back home. The aim of our movement is achieving the separate state of Gorkhaland,” said Ashok Singh, a member of the community.
He further said the protest was non-political and was actually a people’s movement. “It is surprising that none of the political parties has spoken on the killings of three people. Our warrior community is a very peaceful community. Also, imposing the Bengali language on us is against the Constitution,” said Singh, adding that protests to express solidarity with those agitating in Bengal would be held in various cities by the community.
The Darjeeling Hills have witnessed protests and violent clashes between the police and supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha over the past few days. The protests were triggered by the Bengal government’s alleged attempt to impose Bengali language on hill schools — where majority of the people speak Nepali— and have revived the 100-year-old demand of a separate hill state.
On Saturday, the GJM had claimed that three of its supporters were killed during clashes with police.