BENGALURU: Bengaluru has so far witnessed two Gorkhaland protests and both have received the whole hearted support from the locals.
On June 24, when about 200 Gorkhalis met at Freedom Park, Vanitha Gadaily, ensured to lead the slogans and chants. She is a Tamilian, who was born and raised in Bengaluru and knows about the issue from her husband who is a Gorkha. “He used to tell me about the Gorkhalis but I still looked up and read about the community and the issue because I thought he was exaggerating,” she says.
She saw Facebook posts on Gorkhalis protesting in Townhall on June 20 and she immediately wanted to be a part of the next.
Vanitha Gadaily held up slogans in Kannada and said that she keeps talking about the movement with her friends and family. “My friends are also very supportive of the movement. They are curious and I tell them all that I know,” she adds.
Vanitha lost her father in the Kargil war and is aware about the Gorkhalis in the Indian Army, “serving the country with loyalty and bravery.”
“At the end of the day we are Indians. It doesn’t matter if I am a Tamilian or a Kannadiga or a Bengali. Gorkhalis are demanding for their right and I heartily support them,” she says. Vanitha says that now she is a part of the movement and will be taking part in the upcoming rallies.
Call for compensation
K V Balakrishna is the state president of Dalitha Samraksha Samithi Karnataka, has been active on supporting the various communities of the Northeast. He got associated with the Gorkhas three years ago when the NEP India Foundation, an organisation working for the welfare of Nepalese and people from Northeast India,in the city.
Balakrishna helped the NEP foundation, in the city launch its first protest on June 20. “One out of the three killed in the firing in Darjeeling is a Dalit boy,” says Balakrishna.
“In the memorandum that we will be submitting to the Karnataka government, we will mention about this issue and ensure his family is rightly compensated by the West Bengal government,” he adds.
Balakrishna went to Darjeeling in 1992 to inaugurate Ambedkar’s statue and realized the indifference of the West Bengal government towards the Gorkhalis, he says. “The Gorkhas have contributed much to the freedom movement of India and the culturally and linguistically distinct community with a vast population can ask for a separate state within the purview of the Constitution,” he adds.
State government help needed
Balakrishna says that he is attempting to bring more leaders of Karnataka to support the cause of Gorkhaland. “I think many leaders will join on June 28 for the third protest,” he says.
Rajendra Bhat, a Kannadiga recently heard about the Gorkhaland issue. The topic got him interested to support the movement. “I don’t know the in-depth details of the movement,” he confesses. “But I know it is for a good cause. In parts of Bengal, anti-Gorkhaland movement has erupted."
“Gorkhalis are scattered in different parts of the world and in times like these, support from local people means a lot,” says Ramesh Rai, secretary, NEP India Foundation.