Campaigners’ call for new Gurkha state
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