Armed with stones and bottles, protesters are giving a tough time to security forces in keeping law and order in Darjeeling. Eighteen-year-old Pranab, a student of Class 12, has been throwing stones ever since unrest gripped the hills.
“We want Gorkhaland. We want a separate state. It is a fight for our own identity and future. It is my right and I will have it,” he said.
He is among thousands of youngsters who are fighting for Gorkhaland. “India is a democracy and in a democracy everybody has the right to hold peaceful protests. How can someone stop us from organising protests? We didn’t start violence, but if we are beaten up. We will not sit idle. The police will be paid back in their own coin,” a third year student, whose face was covered with a black cloth, told PTI.
Well-versed with the ideals of communists like Karl Marx and Che Guevara, the student said, “I have my own identity and don’t want to get it mixed up with others. I respect all communities and religions. But everybody should understand our sentiments.”
Most of these youngsters are educated. “I am not a goon whom the police can just beat up whenever they want to. I am fighting for my rights. Several of my family members have been in the Army and have served the nation. We are not anti-nationals. We just want a state of our own,” said 25-year-old Binay, who has done his Masters in English from Calcutta University.
With the state government making it mandatory to learn Bengali in the schools of Bengal, people of Darjeeling, whose local language and mother tongue is Nepali, felt that it was an infringement of their cultural rights.
“Had the state government come out with a statement declaring that Bengali would not be imposed in the hills, the situation would not have turned so violent,” said a student from Darjeeling.
Feature image source: PTI/File Photo