Darjeeling tense as Gorkha movement heats up

Gorkhas know how to paint

The hillside roads of the Darjeeling region share an artistic vein: Demands for Gorkhaland. Signs are painted everywhere calling for the new Indian state for Gorkhas, Indians who are ethnically Nepali. Green and white flags — Gorkha colors — hang everywhere.

Now, the region is growing more tense by the hour, as a leader of one of the Gorkha factions was killed at a rally. Gorkha groups have been demanding their own cohesive state for years. They don’t want to simply be a part of the larger, Calcutta-dominated West Bengal.

They above and below photos were taken when I visited Darjeeling in January. I was conveniently there during one of the Gorkha movement’s regular, bandhs, or strikes, of area transportation and business, to press their cause to the state and central governments.

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