As the North Bengal hills continue to simmer in the wake of the prolonged stand-off between those demanding Gorkhaland and the State machinery, hundreds took part in a ‘Tricolour democratic’ march carrying a 110-metre National Flag in support of separate statehood.
The demonstrators, mobilised by different groups but taking enough care to avoid associating with any particular organisation, took out the march holding the giant flag from Rajghat to Jantar Mantar. They said they had united under the banner of Gorkha Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti (GSSS).
Bengal CM targeted
Primarily targeting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her “high-handedness” in dealing with a sensitive issue, they demanded the Centre’s intervention in removing paramilitary forces with immediate effect.
In attendance were those from the region based in the Capital and nearby areas including Sonipat and Gurugram. However, some had even travelled from West Bengal to be a part of the march.
“This is a peace march. The message that we Gorkhas want to convey is that there is no place for violence in this struggle. We have made many sacrifices for the country and have never indulged in anything anti-national. Ms. Banerjee accuses us of siding with anti-India forces but that is not true,” said Andrew Gurung, a social worker based in Delhi.
Darjeeling resident Monika, who had come to the Capital to visit her brother and was slated to return on July 19, said she has deferred her plans to go back for the time being.
Dawa Pakahrin, who had come to take part in the protest from Kalimpong, said the situation was worsening by the day. He added that communication channels beyond Jalpaiguri had been affected.
Lending chorus to the demands was a group of men carrying saffron flags under the banner of Right-wing outfit Vishwa Hindu Raksha Samiti. Not a part of the march, these protesters waiting at Jantar Mantar and merged themselves with the Gorkhas once they reached the spot.
Gorkhaland supporters confirmed that these protesters were uninvited and that such a thing had happened for the first time. The brief cameo did not last long as they were taken away to Parliament Street police station, where they continued raising slogans.