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Bimal blames Doval for ST demand impasse

Morcha leader to send party team to join farmers’ protests


Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung has blamed National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, Ajit Doval, for “derailing” the process of granting tribal status to 11 Gorkha communities. Mr Gurung has also claimed that the BJP-led central government will “never grant” such status to the communities, and that if it did by any chance, all the credit would go to his faction of the Morcha.

Addressing a programme organised by the Salbari Bazaar Saipatri Sangh at Salbari near Siliguri, Mr Gurung further said that he would send a team of the party to Delhi to show solidarity with farmers who are protesting the three farm laws.

Mr Gurung, who spent over three years in hiding after the Gorkhaland agitation in the Hills in 2017, recently severed ties with his ally, the BJP, and made a comeback to the Hills after joining hands with Trinamul Congress supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for this year’s Assembly elections. Since then, he has accused the BJP of doing nothing for the Gorkhas and not keeping its promises, which included a ‘Permanent political solution’ to the Hill political issue and granting of tribal status to the 11 communities—Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami, Yakkha and Dhimal.

“National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who hails from Uttarakhand, has a hand in the Centre actually lingering the process of granting tribal status to our 11 communities. Over 17 lakh Gorkhas live in Uttarakhand. If such status is given to the Gorkha communities, they will start owning plots of land will have their own land rights documents. As such, Doval thought that such a scenario would ignite a fire in Uttarakhand; he thought this could lead to the BJP government in Uttarakhand to fall,” Mr Gurung alleged.

“Doval did not think of national interests, and all he had in mind was Uttarakhand and they acted in their interests. Something that (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi had already okayed, but not happening in the end came as a curse for the Gorkhas,” he added.

On the other hand, leaders of some other political parties in the Hills, who recently met top BJP leaders in Delhi, have claimed that the 11 communities would be granted the ST status before the Assembly elections in the state.

On the ongoing farmers’ protests in the country, Mr Gurung said that their demands were very genuine. “The Centre should think of the farmers, their problems and aspirations. This farmers’ fire will burn across the nation now. We should also support the farmers. We will form a team of 20-22 members and send it to join the farmers’ movement,” he said.

Mr Gurung iterated that by joining hands with the TMC, the Gorkhas should give a befitting reply to the BJP in the upcoming state elections.

“We will have our own candidates in the Hills for the polls, and we will sail through easily there, but we also have to choose condidates for the Terai-Dooars regions. We are working on it,” he said.

Attending the programme at the Saipatri Sangh were other Morcha leaders like Roshan Giri and Vishal Chettri, along with some party activists who were displaced during the 2017 agitation, and party supporters of the Salbari area.