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BJP leader Arjun Singh's remark on Gorkhas draws flak

Darjeeling: The vice-president of BJP, Arjun Singh, has ruffled a few feathers in the Darjeeling Hills by stereotyping Gorkhas as 'Chowkidars' while addressing people during a recently-held road show.

On February 23, addressing the Parivartan Yatra in Darjeeling, Singh had stated: "In our hometown there are many factories. There are many people from your community — that is Gorkhas — working in these factories. The Gorkha word is so trusted that people leave their properties relying on them believing that nothing will ever happen to the assets. This is how the Gorkhas are and the whole country knows this."

This statement has invited flak from different quarters. "According to some narrow-minded people, Gorkhas are always stereotyped as 'Chowkidars.' Such people are unaware of all the other Gorkhas who have contributed to shaping up India and the world's history. All these years, they just show up during elections and pass such remarks," stated Anit Thapa, general secretary, GJM (Binoy), without naming Singh.

He stated that the Gorkhas have contributed in each and every sphere, including the Army, sports, cinema, art and culture, music and administration.

"If I mention Gorkha contribution in each field, it will take those sick mentality people months to read and understand," stated Thapa.

In another development, the United Gorkha Community Forum (UGCF) are toying with the idea of an Assembly election boycott if the Union government fails to include 11 Gorkha left out sub communities in the Scheduled Tribe list.

"BJP MP Raju Bista in the recent past has been repeatedly stating that the 11 Gorkha communities will be included in the ST list before the Assembly elections. Our supporters have been constantly pressuring us to give a call for an election boycott if the communities are not included. We will soon decide on this," stated Ashok Gurung, vice-president, UGCF.

The UGCF has lined up a series of agitation programmes in demand of the ST status. They will stage sit-in protests in Darjeeling, Alipurduar, Birpara and Jaigaon on March 7.

The UGCF will also write to all political parties and the Union Home minister regarding this. A UGCF delegation will also meet Union Home minister Amit Shah and Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh over this.

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