‘Gorkhaland’: Netting support

Statesman News Service

SILIGURI, Jan. 23: The communication revolution is now making its presence felt in north Bengal. Along with the agitations in the Darjeeling Hills and Dooars in support of Gorkhaland, a movement for the demand is silently taking place on the Internet.

Gorkhaland supporters based in different parts of India have created several community groups on social networking sites like Orkut, Ibibo, Myspace and Facebook to enlist support for Gorkhaland from non-resident Gorkhas all over the world and generate international opinion in favour of the demand.

The groups, with names like ‘Gorkhaland’, ‘Jai Gorkhaland’, ‘Free Gorkhaland’, ‘Gorkhaland ~ Our Birthright’, ‘Gorkhaland Awareness Campaign’, ‘Gorkhaland ~ QA New Beginning’, ‘We Support Gorkhaland’, ‘Gorkhaland On The Way’ and ‘Gorkhaland ~ Final Countdown’ have members in different parts of the world.

As is clear from the dates of their scraps and postings, the groups were created soon after the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha launched its agitation in August 2008.

Though the identities of the owners of these communities are unknown, the fact that some diehard supporters of Gorkhaland maintain them, for the most part, is evident from their group descriptions.

Like the contentious “GL” number plates, these communities have already created a lot of resentment among a large number of Internet users belonging to various ethnic and linguistic groups in the region. Said Mr Santosh Sarkar of Jalpaiguri: “The scraps, postings and introductory descriptions in these groups are replete with false claims and provocative propaganda, which are a veritable threat to communal harmony among Indians.”

Mr Ranjan Jha of Siliguri suggested that the administration should take immediate action against the moderators of these communities because their contents were misleading the members of social networking sites, most of whom were young people in the age group of 15 to 25.

Mr Kundan Lal Tamta, IG, North Bengal, admitted that the police were unaware of the development, but made it clear that unless someone lodged a formal complaint to the police against these communities, they would not enquire into the issue. The IG argued that until it was proved by an incident that these communities were stoking communal fire there was no point in blocking them.

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