History of Demand

The demand for a separate administrative unit in Darjeeling has existed since 1907, when the Hillmen's Association of Darjeeling submitted a memorandum to Minto-Morley Reforms demanding a separate administrative setup. In 1917, the Hillmen's Association submitted a memorandum to the Chief Secretary, Government of Bengal, the Secretary of State of India and the Viceroy for the creation of a separate administrative unit comprising the Darjeeling district and adjoining Jalpaiguri district.

In 1929, the Hillmen's Association again raised the same demand before the Simon Commission. In 1930, a joint petition was submitted by Hillmen's Association, Gorkha Officers Association and the Kurseong Gorkha Library to the Secretary of the State of India, Samuel Hoare for separation from the province of Bengal. In 1941, the Hillmen's Association under the presidency of Rup Narayan Sinha urged the Secretary of State of India, Lord Pethick Lawrence, to exclude Darjeeling from the province of Bengal and make it a Chief Commissioners Province.

In 1947, the undivided Communist Party of India (CPI) submitted a memorandum to the Constituent Assembly with copies to Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the Vice President of the Interim Government, and Liaquat Ali Khan, Finance Minister of the Interim Government, demanding the formation of Gorkhasthan comprising Darjeeling District, Sikkim and Nepal.

In Independent India, Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) was the first political party from the region to demand greater identity for the Gorkha (Nepali) ethnic group and economic freedom for the community, when in 1952, under the presidency of N.B. Gurung, the party met Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India in Kalimpong and submitted a memorandum demanding separation from Bengal.

In 1980, under the presidency of Indra Bahadur Rai, the Pranta Parishad of Darjeeling wrote to the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi with the need to form a new state in Darjeeling.

The movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland gained serious momentum during 1986-1988, when a violent agitation was carried out by Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) led by Subhash Ghisingh. The agitation ultimately led to the establishment of a semiautonomous body in 1988 called the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) to govern certain areas of Darjeeling district.

However, in 2007, a new party called the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) raised the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland once again. In 2011, GJM signed an agreement with the state and central governments for the formation of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, a semiautonomous body that replaced the DGHC in the Darjeeling hills.

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For a more detailed history of the demand, click here.