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We vehemently oppose CAA, NRC: Tamang

Darjeeling: Darjeeling and Kalimpong Hills has switched to protest mode with mammoth anti-CAA and anti-NRC rallies held in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik.

Meanwhile, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Binay faction) shot letters to the Prime Minister and Union Home minister, demanding the reintroduction of Inner Line Permits in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts.

Vehicular traffic from Darjeeling to Siliguri was diverted through Mirik as the rallies took to the streets in Darjeeling and Kurseong.

"We vehemently oppose the CAA and NRC. We have written to the Prime Minister, Union Home minister and all the Chief Ministers, demanding the reintroduction of Inner Line Permit in the Hill districts and Dooars. Inner Line Permit was introduced in the Hills and Dooars in 1955. Even Sikkim is demanding this provision, as these regions are on the international borders and are highly sensitive areas. CAA and NRC will not be implemented in Inner Line Permit areas," stated GJM president Binay Tanang, while talking to media persons on the sidelines of the rally.

The GJM has also stated that they will not allow settling of refugees in the Hills and Dooars. "The Union government has to declare Gorkhas residing throughout the country as Original Inhabitants," demanded Tamang.

The rally in Darjeeling led by Tamang commenced at Batasia Loop and culminated in a public meeting at Chowk Bazar, covering a distance of 5 km.

"Though it was under the GJM banner, apolitical persons like social workers, teachers and students also joined in. It shows that people are worried and have rejected the CAA and NRC," added Tamang.

Addressing the rally, trade union leader JB Tamang said that 99 percent of the population living in the Hills is landless, with the majority working in tea gardens.

"From where will we get land documents? From where will we get money to fight court cases as has been the fate of Gorkhas in Assam after NRC?" he said.

It may be mentioned that more than one lakh Gorkhas have been left out in the NRC exercise in Assam.

Tamang alleged that BJP has been using the Gorkhas as a vote bank, giving false assurances. "It is your majority government in the Centre. Why don't you give us Gorkhaland then as per your promise?" questioned Tamang.

He further stated that it would be wise to work hand-in-hand with the West Bengal government and ensure patta (land documents) for the Hill residents.

"NRC is a ploy to make the Gorkhas landless and drive us away from our homes. This is a conspiracy hatched by BJP. They have plans to replace all regional parties with their own party everywhere. The same applies for the Hills also," added GJM leader Sarad Rai.

The protests will continue, declared the GJM president, adding: "We will be having a meeting on December 22 with our Dooars unit at Banarhat and chalk out agitation plans for the plains."

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