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Catholic Church supports separate Gorkha homeland in India

Church leaders have expressed solidarity with ethnic Gorkha people who are on an indefinite strike protesting for a separate homeland in the Darjeeling area of eastern India.

Since 8th June, Darjeeling district in West Bengal state has witnessed violent clashes between local residents and police.

Street protests, stone throwing as well as violence from both sides has intensified since 12th June when the popular local organisation Gorkha Janmukti Morcha called for an indefinite strike demanding the creation of a separate homeland – Gorkhaland – for ethnic Gorkha people. At least three people have been killed in the violence.

“The Church is not directly involved in the protest. But the Church is with the people,” Bishop Stephen Lepcha of Darjeeling told ucanews.com. He explained that local people are demanding the right of self-governance because West Bengal state officials do not attend to their needs.

Picture: Protesters supporting ethnic Gorkha people carry signs and shout slogans during a 22nd June demonstration in Mumbai, India. Church leaders have expressed solidarity with ethnic Gorkha people who are on an indefinite strike protesting for a separate homeland in the Darjeeling area of eastern India. (CNS photo/Divyakant Solanki, EPA).