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29 Jun 2017

Sikkim students march to Kalimpong for state

The march by the students from Sikkim reach Kalimpong on Wednesday
Rajeev Ravidas, TT, Kalimpong, June 28: A group of Sikkim University students arrived here today after trekking up from Rangpo, a border town about 30km away, in support of Gorkhaland and to lend their voices in favour of collective leadership to lead the movement.
The group of 27 students under the banner of the newly-formed Gorkha Students Federation, India, were given a warm welcome as they walked down the Main Road here and assembled in front of the Damber Chowk.
Along the way from Rangpo to Kalimpong, the students collected signatures on a huge banner in favour of the "constitutional demand of Gorkhaland".
Addressing a small gathering at Damber Chowk, Sailendra Dewan, the convener of the federation, said the movement for Gorkhaland was about the identity of the Indian Gorkhas and only a separate state would guarantee that. "We will go to Delhi. We are prepared to go anywhere till we achieve Gorkhaland," he said.
The marchers shouted slogans in favour of collective leadership. "The agitation for Gorkhaland is a people's movement. Only a collective leadership will be able to lead the movement to its logical conclusion. No leader should settle for anything less than Gorkhland. In the event of any party compromising on the demand for Gorkhaland, we will raise our voices in protest," said Dewan.
The federation, he said, was formed three weeks back, and it had been organising various programmes across Sikkim in favour of Gorkhaland.
"Just like Osmania University (in Huderabad) was the epicentre of the movement for Telangana, we will turn the campus of Sikkim University into a hub for Gorkhaland," he added.
Earlier, Munish Tamang, the working president of the apolitical Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, who was at Damber Chowk to greet the Sikkim students, too, expressed the hope that a collective leadership with pan-India representation would be formed at tomorrow's all-party meeting.
"We will discuss how the (proposed) committee, by whatever name it is called, will find representation of all sections. That is the original agenda of tomorrow's meeting. This (the committee) will be the face of the leadership," he said.
Tamang, too, made a reference of the Telangana movement in the context of collective leadership. "We can learn from the Telangana movement. There was a Joint Action Committee in that movement. The convener of the Joint Action Committee was a non-political figure... Under his leadership, all political parties used to conduct their programmes," he said.

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