Cam­paign­ers’ call for new Gurkha state

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News - By Ai­dan Bar­low

Nepalese cam­paign­ers took their mes­sage to the streets to raise aware­ness of the plight of fel­low Gurkhas liv­ing in a re­gion of In­dia.

The Dar­jeel­ing Hills is a re­gion made up of largely Nepalese-speak­ing in­hab­i­tants and is known as Gorkha­land but has been un­der the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the British and now the In­dian gov­ern­ment.

Res­i­dents liv­ing there re­quested a sep­a­rate ad­min­is­tra­tive sys­tem in 1907, but more than a cen­tury later they are still cam­paign­ing to be part of a sep­a­rate state.

In Ashford, mem­bers of the Sa­gar­matha Gurkha Nepalese Com­mu­nity group marched through the town cen­tre and showed their sup­port for the cam­paign at Vic­to­ria Park.

Chair­man Bhaskar Ti­tung said: “In In­dia there are dif­fer­ent states formed on the ba­sis of lan­guage, cul­tural, and phys­i­cal fea­tures, such as the Pun­jab for Pun­jabis and Gu­jarat for Gu­jaratis.

“But un­for­tu­nately the Dar­jeel­ing Hills, where the ma­jor­ity of the Nepali-speak­ing Gurkhas live, is un­der the West Ben­gal state.”

There have been re­cent trou­bles in the re­gion, with cam­paign­ers stag­ing strike ac­tion against the state au­thor­i­ties.

Mr Ti­tung said re­cent trou­bles have seen 11 deaths, with food sup­plies be­ing cut off and in­ter­net and me­dia sta­tions closed down.

He ac­cused the In­dian au­thor­i­ties of vi­o­lat­ing hu­man rights.

Nepalese cam­paign­ers from Ashford raise aware­ness of is­sues af­fect­ing fel­low Gurkhas in Dar­jeel­ing

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