Union Home Minister Amit Shah, while addressing an election rally in West Bengal on Tuesday, said that the Gorkha community need not worry about the implementation of the National Register of Citizens, PTI reported.
The Union government backs the National Register of Citizens, calling it a mechanism that is necessary to identify undocumented migrants, particularly Bangladeshis. But critics fear that the Citizenship Amendment Act when used in conjunction with the NRC will allow the government to exclude Muslims, turning them into non-citizens. The government and its supporters have, however, insisted that the CAA and the NRC are not linked.
Shah said in Darjeeling on Tuesday that there were no plans to implement the National Register of Citizens as of now. “NRC has not yet been implemented, but whenever it is done, not a single Gorkha will be asked to leave,” the Union home minister said, according to India Today. He accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of creating fear among the community.
Shah said that Gorkhas are the pride of the country and no one could cause them any harm, according to PTI.
Shah promised to give Scheduled Tribe status to 11 castes within the Gorkha community if voted to power in West Bengal, India Today reported.
The Union home minister also promised that the Bharatiya Janata Party government would permanently solve the “Gorkha problem”. “You will not have to resort to agitations anymore,” he added, according to PTI.
Violence had broken out in Darjeeling in June 2017 after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced her decision to make Bengali compulsory in state-run schools. Though Banerjee had said that hill districts would be exempted from the rule, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha began an agitation that soon turned into a revival of the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
Soon after the violence, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung and a few of his aides went into hiding as the police filed cases against them under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The party too split after the Gurung-led faction insisted on continuing the shutdown in the hills, which crippled life in the region for months.
Gurung made a public appearance outside the Gorkha Bhavan in Kolkata last year. He announced his decision to quit the National Democratic Alliance and support the Trinamool Congress in the Assembly elections.