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Students at JU demand Gorkhaland as protests spread to Kolkata

Participants in a candle-lit rally accused security forces of repressive tactics and said their protest would be the first of many to come.

india Updated: Jun 22, 2017 13:15 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Gorkhaland,Jadavpur University,Kolkata
Protesters silently condemn the actions of the West Bengal government in the foothills and urge the establishment of Gorkhaland.(Samir Jana / HT Photo)

Over 300 students gathered in a silent candle rally at the campus of Jadavpur University (JU) to support the demand for Gorkhaland on Tuesday night. Dozens of Gorkhas from outside the university also attended.

The protesters carried signs reading “We support #Gorkhaland”, “Gorkhaland is a just demand”, “Withdraw armed forces from Darjeeling” and “Bengali travel enthusiasts cannot decide the fate of Darjeeling people”.

The crowd of students were mostly Gorkhas, but included around 50 Bengalis from leftwing organisations. The rally was organised by two small political groups: the Gorkha Solidarity Forum and the People’s Collective.

One protester, an economics undergraduate who asked not to be identified, said he had spent four days in the hills filming the demonstrations there, which had provoked an FIR being filed against him by the Kurseong police. “This is the height of repression by a state,” he said.

“This is just the beginning,” said Bimal Sherpa, another JU student, of the protest. “Given the rise in atrocities against the hill people, we’ll need to organise a series of similar events in Kolkata.”

Participants said that there are more than 400 Nepali-speaking students in JU. Pratik, a PhD candidate in the economics department and a resident of Darjeeling, said that the rally would have been even bigger had it not occurred during summer break.

First Published: Jun 21, 2017 11:12 IST