Gorkha Janmukti Morcha National General Secretary Roshan Giri tells Tilak Jha on the sidelines of Gorkha meet in New Delhi that Gorkhas don’t want to be part of West Bengal.
(In the pic: Raushan Giri (first from right) with GJM Delhi leaders last Sunday at a meeting in New Delhi)
How today’s meeting come about?
Today’s meeting is to pay homage to the martyrs who gave their life for the Gorkhaland. Our people were indiscriminately shot dead by the West Bengal Police. We are demanding CBI enquiry into this matter.
Now that the unfortunate incident is almost two weeks old and the government has not yet responded. What will you do now?
We have asked our people to be prepared for massive protests at any time. We are also demanding the separate state of Gorkhaland. So, the protest will be for Gorkhaland and for justice to our people.
The Gorkhaland movement is more than a hundred years old. Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council was formed in between. Is it going to happen?
It has to be because we don’t want to be part of West Bengal. We are in West Bengal by an accident of History. The land was never part of West Bengal. Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) has become redundant. I don’t want to tell anything about Subhash Ghising. (Subhash Ghising was the leader of DGHC) and the way he handled our people. He was a sold leader. Over last three years after Gorkha Janmukti Morcha was formed, we have brought the movement alive. We are going to have our Gorkhaland sooner than later.
Should ethnicity alone be the reason to demand a separate state?
It’s related to our identity. India is a union of states. Our problems can’t get solved until and unless we have a separate state. It’s a quest for Gorkha identity.
You are now demanding Gorkha dominated areas in Dooar and Siliguri. There are many people in these regions who do not want Gorkhaland.
We are not demanding something new. This has been our demand since 1907. You see the Amra Bengali, Jan Chetana Manch, Jan Jagaran Manch and another association called Bangla Bhasha Bachao Samiti…the very name of all such organisations suggests that they are only concerned about Bengali language. Bengali is a very rich language but you can’t ignore the rest.
You have been living with the same Bengalis for hundreds of years now.
Tomorrow also, after Gorkhaland will be formed, they will be living with us. West Bengal will always be our neighbouring state. I don’t see any harm in that. When Uttarakhand can be carved out of UP, Chhatisgarh can be carved out of Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand can come out of Bihar, what’s the harm if Gorkhaland is formed out of West Bengal.
What would you say to those who are concerned that their rights might be harmed in case Gorkhaland is formed?
Their rights will not be harmed. A Bihari, a Bengali or a Muslim will be entitled to similar rights as enjoyed by the Gorkhas in the new state. Now also they are with us. Many minority fronts of these communities are working under the banner of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
West Bengal elections are nearby. What will be your stand during this election?
There is still sometime for elections to happen. We have not yet decided about that. Whatever decision is taken by the central committee, we will follow that. We are concentrating on the demand for Gorkhaland.
It might happen in this election that Left Front government will not come back. Do you see greater hope from Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress?
Let the result come first. Anything can happen.
Do you believe that media has been unfair?
We feel that our movement is being portrayed in a different way. It’s a communal movement. It’s a violent movement. But that has never been the case.
But there have been case of violence.
It’s is not the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. Some people with vested interests create problem and blame us. We are a demanding for Gorkhaland as per democratic means and according to the provisions of the constitution.
As a leader of the movement, did you feel at any point of time that there has been too much of violence and that you should give up?
You see the Sipchu incident. Unprovoked firing. Our people were carrying the national flag. What was the need of killing them? What was the need of imposing Section 144? We are not safe in Bengal. How can we give up?
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