The Trinamul Congress-led state government has recently formed a separate Police battalion only for Gorkhas. However, interestingly enough, there are only four Gorkhas among the 123 total personnel recruited in the Gorkha Battalion.
As the list of personnel in the Battalion came to the public domain, people, belonging to both the Gorkha and non-Gorkha communities representing various sectors have started criticizing the state government.
As the list and criticism filled social media in the past two days, Darjeeling MP Raju Bista today came up with an official reaction to the same.
“The sheer political tokenism of the Trinamul Congress government towards Gorkhas has been exposed once again. Amidst much fanfare, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced the establishment of a Gorkha Battalion in the West Bengal Police, but it has now come to light that only four jawans out of a total strength of 123 are actually Gorkhas,” Bista, who is also one of the BJP’s national spokespersons, said.
“I have said time and again, TMC is least bothered about the welfare of the Gorkhas and other minorities from north Bengal. For the past 10 years, TMC has deprived and discriminated our region and people, and they will continue to do so,” Bista said, adding, “Under TMC, the districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong have suffered the most. There are thousands of vacant posts in government offices in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong, Mirik, Bijanbari, Algarah, Gorubathan, Matigara, Khoribari, Phasnidewa and Siliguri. In fact, WB government has failed or refused to recruit replacement for retiring government officials in our region, because of which almost all the government offices in our region are overworked, over stressed and underpaid.”
According to him, none of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) workers are permanent and that they are forced to work for a much lesser pay than what the WB government pays its other government staff.
“Many of our sisters and brothers serving in the GTA have spent their lifetime working as contractual workers without proper salary, pension or social security net. This has caused massive migration of our talented and educated youths, who are forced to leave their families behind and head to cities in distant lands in search of better opportunities in life,” Bista said.
“I appeal to leaders of other political parties, particularly those from our Hills who are working for TMC, to speak out against this blatant tokenism on the part of the TMC government. We have to consciously rise above the politics of tokenism, politics of discrimination and anti-development politics practiced by TMC,” he added.
Netizens in the Hills, meanwhile, took to task the state government for the development.
“A Gorkha Battalion without Gorkhas today, Darjeeling Himalayan University without Gorkha Students/Professors tomorrow, and worse Darjeeling with a Gorkha minority one day! And we are busy in Bimal Gurung VS Anit-Binay drama!” one Facebook user said in a post on his wall.
“Is this Gorkha Battalion? A deep conspiracy against us is going on,” another Facebook user said, posting copies of the list of personnel in the Battalion.