Bring PM Narendra Modi's attention to Human Rights Violations in Darjeeling
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The Honorable Prime Minister of India,
Mr Narendra Modi,
New Delhi, India.
Dear Prime Minister Modi,
We are the Friends of Gorkha Community around the world. We write to you today to bring your urgent attention to two major issues.
Firstly, as expatriate Indian citizens who are friends of Gorkha Community we are in great distress and anguish over what people in Darjeeling have been subjected to in the past few weeks. The gross human rights violations that the peace loving Gorkha community are facing are uncalled for and extreme. In a democratic country like India where diversity in culture, language, and religion are celebrated on a daily basis, even the suggestion of forceful imposition of a second language over the mother-tongue has been unheard of. Which is why the implication that Bengali as a language would be imposed on all communities in Darjeeling District has been shocking. For far too long the Gorkhas have been subjected to distressing and unacceptable proposals such as this, causing violent and regular eruptions in these regions. For us living in the United States, far away from everything that we hold dear, seeing the brutalities on TV and social media makes us feel helpless.
Secondly, the demand for Gorkhaland, a separate state comprising of the Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and some regions of Siliguri subdivision is more than a century old. There are major differences in ethnicity, culture, language and identity between the Bengalis and the Gorkhas. These differences has lead to poor governance of the region by the state government. When the entire nation, including our neighbour Sikkim, is moving ahead under your capable leadership, the people of Gorkhaland have been left behind--the children of Gorkhaland have been left behind! The demand for an independent state of Gorkhaland has been repeatedly denied by the State Government of West Bengal and the Central Government of India over the past many years. And while these demands were being ignored, people of the hills have continued to die in protests. Even in the current situation, three bystander civilians and hundreds of casualties have been reported. The atrocities by the state government of West Bengal have adversely impacted our tourism, a major source of livelihood for people in Darjeeling. In addition, the State Government has successfully cut communication and transport to and from the entire district impacting hundreds of schools, colleges, businesses and even hospitals. While you are actively promoting advancement of technology in the country through StartUp India, the Gorkhas have now lost freedom to access the Internet. The continuing apathy of the West Bengal government to the current situation does not surprise a Gorkha anymore because they have faced this for decades.
Which is why we are writing to you. As the head of our great democracy, you are in a unique position to bring peace in the region once and for all for for over 2 million people. We sincerely request you to intervene and immediately bring all the human rights atrocities by the State Government of West Bengal to a stop and restore peace in the hills of Darjeeling.
In addition, we also appeal to you to support and fulfil the century long demand of Gorkhaland. This demand is an imploration from the Gorkhas for identity of a community that has upheld the country’s honor as their own, a community that has followed leaders to war without questioning and a community whose members have laid down their lives for Bharatmata, their motherland.
We sincerely hope you consider this appeal.
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