As the indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling entered its 11th day on Monday, the Gorkhas expressed their dejection over doubts being raised about their nationality. Bharatiya Gorkha Bhutpurav Sainik Kalyan Sangathan secretary D.P. Gurung questioned as to why were they considered foreigners in spite of being born on Indian soil. Gurung said their ancestors served in the Indian Army then why are they considered outsiders. Gurung told ANI, “Our demand for a separate land has been there since 1907, so it is not a new demand. But the Bengal Government and Indian Government is not in its favour. Also, we were born here, then why are we considered foreigners? Our ancestors served in the Indian Army, are we foreigners? Our demand is constitutional, not wrong. The Bengal Government is calling us terrorists, are we terrorists?”
The comments came during a silent protest march demanding Gorkhaland state by the Bharatiya Gorkha Bhutpurav Sainik Kalyan Sangathan. Yesterday, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) gave a 12 hour relaxation of its indefinite strike for the Muslim community on the eve of Eid. An indefinite bandh was called in the hills by GJM on June 15. With supplies running out and the vacations to start shortly, the boarding schools of Darjeeling are facing a harrowing time due to the shutdown. The indefinite shutdown has also hit hard the famed tea industry with the premium quality ‘second flush’ tea leaves going waste causing heavy losses to the garden owners and putting at stake the livelihood of more than two lakh tea workers. Darjeeling is home to 87 tea gardens and the ongoing shutdown has pushed them to the brink. The tea garden owners feel that they will be losing 45 per cent of their yearly revenue.