Tamang blames immigration policy for infiltration

Statesman News Service DARJEELING, May 15: The All India Gorkha League president Mr Madan Tamang today blamed the immigration policy of India for the infiltration of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, which has reduced the Gorkhas to an insignificant minority. “This is the strategy of the CPI-M-led Left Front government to increase their vote bank in north Bengal by sneaking in Bangladeshi migrants and providing them with ration cards and voter cards,” Mr Tamang said.Speaking on the occasion of the 65th raising day of the party, the AIGL leader accused the Bengal government of bringing a “demographic change” in north Bengal. “We can challenge the policy in the court. It is necessary to set a cut-off layer to curb the random infiltration,” he said. Condemning the label of “communal” on the Gorkhaland demand, Mr Tamang stressed that Gorkhali is a “way of life” rather than a community. “Gorkha transcends all caste, creed and religion. Everybody residing in the Darjeeling Hills is a Gorkha irrespective of community,” he said adding that the fight of the Gorkhas is not against the Bengali community but against the Bengal government.The AIGL leadership also cautioned that the Centre and the state government are trying to re-introduce the Sixth Schedule Bill, which everybody thinks has been scrapped. “The UPA and Left Front government are looking for the right opportunity to implement the bill. They will rename the DGHC as Gorkhaland Autonomous Council which equates to nothing,” he alleged. The AIGL will fight tooth and nail to prevent such a development and will accept nothing less than statehood, he added. Tamang warns GJMMThe All India Gorkha League president, Mr Madan Tamang today cautioned the GJMM of its friendship with the Kamptapur Progressive Party (KPO) alleging that the KPO president Mr Atul Roy had submitted a memorandum to the Union Home Ministry in 2005 stating that the Gorkhas were “not Indians”. “The GJMM should learn to differentiate between enemies and friends. Under such circumstances I can only advise them to sever ties with their allies,” said Mr Tamang.The memorandum addressed to home minister Mr Shivraj Patil in 2005 opposes the conference of the Sixth Schedule status on the Gorkhas. “The memorandum clearly states that the Gorkhas were brought by the British to work as labourers in the tea plantations of Darjeeling,” said Mr Tamang. The development comes at a time when the GJMM has formed an alliance with the pro-Kamtapuris – the Progressive and the Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party for their respective demands of Kamtapur/Greater Cooch Behar and Gorkhaland. Following their joint campaigns the parties had also organised joint meetings at Dinhata, Cooch Behar and Siliguri. Countering Mr Tamang’s statement, Mr Atul Roy said that the memorandum sent by his organisation was based on the White Paper issued by the West Bengal government during the Gorkhaland agitation, which terms the Gorkhas as non-Indians. “I totally support the demand of the Gorkhas of Indian origin for separate state,” he said alleging that Mr Tamang was trying to break their alliance with the GJMM.However, the GJMM leadership claimed that it was not aware of any such memorandum forwarded by the KPO. “We do not know of any memorandum submitted by the KPO,” responded Mr Roshan Giri, general secretary of the GJMM to Mr Tamang’s statement.

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