Christian Gorkhas protest Indian government discrimination

Kathmandu, Nepal – Thousands of Gorkhas of Nepali origin demonstrated in New Delhi, demanding justice and an end to discrimination, after two women protesters were shot dead by police in Jalpaigudi (Darjeeling).

The incident, which occurred on Wednesday, sparked protests in Darjeeling, on the border with Nepal. The government sent in paramilitary forces to patrol the cities of the state. A curfew was imposed in the most affected areas.

“We want an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation,” Bimal Gurung, president of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), told AsiaNews. “Police show two women during a peaceful demonstration. We will not stop until we get justice.” The GJM also called for a general strike in the next few days to halt transportation and other activities in Darjeeling.

Gorkhas began accusing the central and local governments of discrimination towards their community after an unfair tax was imposed on the Nepali minority. For this reason, they set up an organisation in 2007 that seeks autonomy for their district.

Ethnic Nepalis represent the majority in Darjeeling, where they work in tea plantations. Most of them are Christians (both Protestants and Catholics) who fled Nepal when the country became an absolute Hindu monarchy

At present, Catholics number around 8,000. In 2006, with the end of Nepal’s monarchy, many began to attend the Nepali church across the border.