Members of the Gorkha community living in Mumbai gathered at Azad Maidan on Thursday to protest against the recent murder of three people in restive Darjeeling “by the West Bengal police” and the subsequent internet shutdown, the Indian Express reported.
A community member, Ashok Singh, was quoted as saying, “Our immediate attention and agenda lies in the restoration of peace and our fundamental rights back home. The aim of our movement is achieving the separate state of Gorkhaland.”
Calling the protest a people’s movement, Ashok added, “It is surprising that none of the political parties have spoken on the killings of three people. Our warrior community is a very peaceful community. Also, imposing the Bengali language on us is against the Constitution.”
Asia Times recently reported that Nepali-speaking Gorkhas, who are a majority in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong and neighboring regions, had revived calls for a separate state called Gorkhaland. The immediate cause of the unrest, which began on Monday, was the state government’s decision to introduce the Bengali language in schools up to Class 10 for Gorkhas, who remain ethnically and culturally distinct from local Bengalis. Hill schools currently teach Nepali, Hindi and English.