January 24, 2009 2:19:19 am
A delegation of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) that met Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee early this week at Writers Buildings had a new face this time Asha Gurung,wife of GJM president Bimal Gurung. During her first visit to the nerve centre of the state administration as part of a delegation,The Indian Express caught up with her for a brief interview. An excerpt:
How deeply are you involved with the Gorkhaland movement ?
I have managed my home for 22 years. Now there is a need for me to play a different role. I am fully devoted to the Gorkhaland movement now. Between me and my husband,who is spearheading the movement at present,there is nothing called personal any more. We hardly get any personal time for each other. But it doesnt become an issue between us,as we both have the same political convictions and it is not necessary to take out extra time for each other. We are completely involved with the movement for Gorkhaland.
How did you get to know Bimal Gurung,the president of the GJM ?
I met Bimal Gurung for the first time as a participant in the GNLF agitation in 1986 and we got married in January 1987,following which my tryst with politics came to an end. However,I was never far from it as my husband has always been active in the Gorkhaland movement,first with the GNLF and now with the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha. My re-entry into politics last year was made easier by the fact that I have always believed in the Gorkhaland concept and I am willing to make any sacrifice.
What about your children ?
My children,Annapurna (20) and Avinash (18) are now independent and pursuing studies outside West Bengal . When Bimal formed the GJM,I decided to join the movement and mobilise Nepalese women. I am now a member of the GJMs core committee and proud to say that there are seven women members in this committee. At 43,my responsibilities on the home front are not too demanding.
What role is the Gorkha Nari Morcha playing in the movement ?
Our delegation has come from Garubathan in the Dooars,where a large number of GJM supporters are living in camps after being refused entry into the area. It is from this Garubathan camp that the Gorkha Nari Morcha processions are being organised in the Dooars region. The Gorkha Nari Morcha has been at the forefront of the Gorkhaland agitation. Women have been prominent in all public rallies and meetings that the GJM had organised over the past year in various parts of the Darjeeling Hills and more recently in the Dooars. The GJM rally that clashed with tribals in Nagrakata was in fact a Gorkha Nari Morcha rally.
Is the Gorkhaland movement taking a communal or racial turn in the Dooars region?
There has never been any problem between the tribals and us. The Left Front and the CPM are trying to create ethnic divides in the region and stall the creation of Gorkhaland. We made it clear to the Chief Minister that many of our activists have been injured and several arrested on false charges during the week-long standoff in the Dooars. The state government should be serious and genuine in dealing with us. There can be no compromise on the creation of Gorkhaland and we have no issues with the tribals.
Why do you want to divide Bengal and create Gorkhaland ?
Its been a long cherished dream of all Gorkhas of Darjeeling to have a separate state of Gorkhaland. We are ready to make any sacrifice to realise this demand of the Gorkhas. There can be no compromise on this issue.
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