Kin of 11 people killed in Gorkhaland agitation invited to PM’s swearing-in
In what could be construed as another embarrassing moment for West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, family members of 11 people killed in police firing during the Gorkhaland movement in Darjeeling hills in 2017, have also been invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
However, members of only five families could reach Delhi on Thursday, Raju Bista, the newly- elected Lok Sabha candidate from Darjeeling said. The rest could not make it since they live in remote areas.
On Wednesday, Mamata Banerjee cancelled her plans to attend the programme in Delhi on Thursday evening after invitations were sent to family members of 54 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers killed in Bengal over the past few years.
“The 11 families from our hills whose family members had been killed by the West Bengal police during the 2017 anti-language imperialism and Gorkhaland agitation, will be attending the inauguration of the new government,” Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Bimal Gurung faction) general secretary Roshan Giri said in a statement. He added that they did not share the information deliberately earlier.
“As you all are aware, democracy is dead in Darjeeling, and we had feared that the family members of these 11 people would not be permitted to leave Darjeeling by TMC and the police if they got to know,” Giri said.
GJM (Bimal Gurung faction) is an ally of the BJP.
The BJP won both the Darjeeling Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies by big margins, unsettling the Trinamool Congress’ grip on the hills.
“The invitation to these 11 families is symbolic, as it is an acknowledgement of the sacrifices made by the Gorkha community and reflects the deep sense of responsibility shown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP’s Lok Sabha MP from Darjeeling Raju Bista and our senior NDA partner BJP,” Giri said in the statement.
“Members of five of the families who died during the agitation have already reached Delhi and they will be attending the swearing-in ceremony. Other families could not make it to Delhi as they stay in remote areas,” Raju Bista said.