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Darjeeling Issue-II
What late Rajiv Gandhi had said about Gorkhas when he visited Darjeeling in 1986, in his second visit as PM?


(As published in Himgiri, news weekly, Vol. No. 2, issue: 26 dated December 21, 1986)

Darjeeling: 19 December: It was his second visit to Darjeeling after Rajiv Gandhi came in power. He reached Bagdogra from New Delhi by flight and reached Lebong helipad by helicopter service. There was snowfall in Darjeeling since last three days continuously and there was severe cold wave, Despite the cold climate the people gave him rousing reception. He wore a Nepali cap on his head. The Nepali girls put tilak on his forehead and put the Nepali cap according to tradition.

Gorkha People have shed their blood for the country: Rajiv Gandhi

While addressing the people gathered at the North Point ground, (the then) Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi said, "Gorkhas are intermingled with the Indian culture. The Gorkha brothers have shed their blood for the sake of the country before and during the freedom struggle."(There was emotional outburst from the hill people to his remark  for it was the first time by any Prime Minister of India who praised the glory of Gorkhas)

Referring to the Gorkhaland agitation and its implication in the country, PM Gandhi said, "today Gorkhas in India are facing two different problems, one is the Gorkha who are settling in India during Indo-Nepal treaty of 1950 or prior to the independence of the country and another is the Gorkha after the treaty. He clarified that no Indian citizenship would be granted to those people who entered into India from Nepal after the treaty of 1950. However he said that the right of life and property would be protected for theirs too. He said that it would help to foster the relationship between India and Nepal.

Prime Minister disclosed that on next January 8, 1987, a meeting between the Chief Minister Mr. Jyoti Basu and himself would be held in New Delhi regarding the present situation of Darjeeling and the agitation launched by GNLF.

He said that Gorkhas have played crucial role to make the country strong and further urged to continue the effort to maintain peace in the prevailing situation.

He also accepted the mistake of the past that many smaller states came into existence on the line of linguistic division. He said that it was not a good trend for the unity of the country. Bengal is not for Bengali people alone, it is for the people of Gorkhas too. Gorkhas must not be treated second class citizen here. He iterated however that there would be no division of Bengal.

GNLF is not anti-national: Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi

Prime Minister said that GNLF agitation is not anti-national. Even if West Bengal alleged that GNLF is anti-national, we have not found anti-national activities. Clarifying the so called letter written by Subhas Ghisingh to UNO and king of Nepal, PM further said, "Ghisingh has made apology to Home Minister Buta Singh that such action would not be repeated in future." He asked the media persons that if they had such evidence, they could procure, and further added but after elapsing three months, no such proof had been produced.

PM further alleged that the Government of Jyoti Basu could not maintain law and order situation in Darjeeling. PM further said that after all party meeting, Mr. Jyoti Basu had assured to look into the problem of Darjeeling hill but after passing three months, he has not made any such effort. PM Gandhi urged the Chief Minister Jyoti Basu to visit Darjeeling and understand their problems.

Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had urged Jyoti Basu to accompany him in his visit to Darjeeling but he denied doing to do so, PM added.

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