GJM dubs Meghalaya CM's sudden support to Gorkhaland as a political gimmick to expand base in North Bengal
Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Binoy Tamang faction) has urged Meghalaya Chief Minister and National People's Party President Conrad K. Sangma to first ensure safety and security of the Gorkha community in his state and then raise the issue of Gorkhaland. The party has alleged that with elections around the corner many are trying to reap political dividends by raising the Gorkhaland demand.
The statement comes in the wake of Conrad Sangma shooting a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah raising the demand of Gokhaland. Though the letter is dated September 4, it was made public by the NPP, an NDA ally, on Tuesday.
"Sir, as stated, the Gorkhas have contributed immensely to the fabric of Indian society and as with other citizens of India, the Gorkhas too are rightful Indian citizens who deserve to have their own identity and Baas Bhoomi,(homeland)," stated Sangma in the letter.
"We thank the NPP President for supporting the Gorkhaland demand. However, we can't but be wary of the sudden support that too at a time when NPP has expressed desire to expand base in North Bengal and also contest elections. There are many reasons for us to tread cautiously and not fall into a trap" cautioned Keshav Raj Pokhrel, Spokesperson, GJM.
He stated that the biggest irony of the whole issue is that owing to the treatment meted out on Gorkhas in Meghalaya in the 1980s, that Later Subash Ghising was compelled to raise the Gorkhaland demand in 1986.
"During the tenure of Conrad's father PA Sangma as the Chief Minister, lakhs of Gorkhas were forcefully driven out of Meghalaya in the 1980s. Gorkha settlements were torched; Gorkha women tortured and men brutally murdered. Many died while fleeing and their dead bodies were not even cremated. All this forced Subash Ghising to raise the demand for Gorkhaland for the first time," stated Pokhrel.
At present also there has not been much improvement in the way Gorkhas are treated in Meghalaya, claimed Pokhrel. "They are treated as second class citizens and devoid of various benefits enjoyed by others in the State. The Gorkhas have no land rights and cannot buy or sell land in Meghalaya. They do not have rights to Government jobs also. Political conspiracies and moves are still on in Meghalaya to compel Gorkhas to leave the state," alleged Pokhrel.
The GJM spokesperson further stated that if Chief Minister Conrad was truly sincere about the welfare of the Gorkhas, he should ensure equal rights for the Gorkhas in his state along with their political safety and security.
"Else we will consider your Gorkhaland support letter to the Home Minister as yet another political gimmick and an attempt to curry favour with the Gorkhas to bag their votes. Stop playing with the sentiments of Gorkhas for political gains. Please ensure the safety and security of the Gorkhas residing in Meghalaya, then only Gorkhas throughout the country will stop questioning your motives and you will enjoy their trust," added Pokhrel.