Now, Pune marches for Gorkhaland
In solidarity with the protests in Darjeeling and Siliguri, supporters in Pune assembled for a rally on Sunday, July 30, at Dr Ambedkar Statue, near Sassoon Hospitalpune Updated: Aug 01, 2017 13:42 IST
The ensuing stir by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) seeking to carve out Gorkhaland state from West Bengal has now received support from several Gorkha groups from across the globe, and citizens from Pune too took part in a rally. In solidarity with the protests in Darjeeling and Siliguri, supporters in Pune assembled for a rally on Sunday, July 30, at Dr Ambedkar Statue, near Sassoon Hospital.
A first of its kind event, the rally was a part of the larger protest under ‘Global Gorkhaland Unity March’, which had Gorkhas from 150 cities and towns across five continents, protest to carve out a separate state of Gorkhaland, from West Bengal.
Protesting against the imposition of Bengali language across West Bengal, including where Nepali is the official language, and calling it the tip of the iceberg, Bishal Subba, a Gorkhaland supporter and Gorkha Youth and Student Association (GYSA) volunteer said, “Gorkhas are originally Nepali speaking people residing in India, and hence, it is the official language.I know Bengali, and since the beginning it has been optional, but now making it mandatory makes no sense. This is directly targeting our linguistic identity, among much more.”
“Though we are very proud to be Indians, we are still considered outsiders. We are here for the identity crisis that we face today. And this imposition of language has re-sparked the ongoing agitation. It has come as a cultural threat to us,” added Kabya Lama, a journalism student and a Gorkhaland supporter
“We are not separatists, we don’t want to separate from our country India. We just want our own state devoid of imposition of a different culture. We have no ethnic connections whatsoever with West Bengal. It was an administrative decision years ago, but why should we carry that burden till today. We are only demanding our own national identity”, Bishal added.
The rally began from the Ambedkar statue and went till the Collector’s office at the New Council Hall Building. Volunteers then met with Collector, Saurabh Rao to present their memorandum.
One of the issues of agitation mentioned in the memorandum seeking support, was the recent state of chaos in Darjeeling, which claimed over eight lives, and the ostracisation of the parts leading up to the 45th day of the agitation. On the current state Sandeep Pradhan,an IT professional exclaimed, “If a state is like a family, can you treat a few parts differently than the others? For over 40 days the internet ban, media ban, stopping food supplies and chaos, how can a government which is trying to keep us within the folds of their state by calling us their own, treat us this way? Would you really treat your own people this way?”
The eventual outcome of the rally concluding after the meeting with the collector held positive response, stated one of the volunteers present there. “The collector has extended his support to us, and has empathised with the chaotic situation in our land.Hopefully this is a beginning,” said Dhankumar Rai.