Candlelight Vigil For Gorkhaland

Candlelight Vigil For Gorkhaland By Darjeeling Alumni

A group of Nepalis, mostly alumni of schools in Darjeeling, held a candlelight vigil at Pashupatinath yesterday, to show solidarity with the Gorkhaland movement. At least 150 people participated. A Darjeeling school alumnus Navraj Pradhan, called the vigil via Facebook. He says similar candlelight vigils will held every Saturday, but at different locations.

“It’s not political, we are not associated with any organisation. It’s just love and a deep respect for the people of the hills,” Pradhan shares.

The demand for a separate Gorkha state by Darjeeling, West Bengal began peacefully a month ago, but has now turned hostile. At least three protesters from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, governing the semi-autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, have been killed in police firing.

The Nepali-speaking ethnic minority group has been demanding a separate state based on linguistic and cultural identity for half a century. Due to proximity and a shared language, the Gorkhaland movement has received support from the Nepali hill community.

 

Meanwhile, Madhesis are using the movement to justify their demand for Hindi as the main language in Madhes province. However, major political parties are against fulfilling this demand of the Madhesi community saying it was not the original language of the region, even though Hindi does happen to be the language spoken in the region.

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