Parikkar stresses on importance of nationalism

5 Mar 2017

Union defence minister Manohar Parikkar today talked about nationalism, the strategic importance of the Darjeeling hills in terms of national security, and establishing a sainik school in Darjeeling, but stopped short of making any comments on the statehood demand.
The defence minister arrived in Darjeeling this morning and inaugurated the newly constructed building of the Rama Krishna Siksha Parishad that has been converted into a model school by the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration from the special package of the central assistance fund for the hills.
After the inauguration, taking questions on the statehood demand with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung by his side, Parikkar said he would brief the Centre when he is back in Delhi.
“All I can say at the moment is that from my side I will give a full briefing to the union home ministry as the issue falls in its jurisdiction. Everyone must pursue the issue (demand) like you (GJM) are doing and I will also do the same. But I cannot give my decision as it is for the home ministry to take a call,” the defence minister said.
The GJM along with its youth organisation and ex-servicemen owing allegiance to the party submitted a memorandum to Parikkar with the statehood demand. The minister noted how Darjeeling shared borders with four countries and the strategic importance of the area should be given proper consideration while making plans.
Darjeeling district is surrounded by China, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan and is often referred as a “chicken neck”. “This place is strategically important as it shares international borders. I think while dealing with this area if this factor is taken into consideration and then plans formed, then there won't be any problem. It is good that in this place nearly 10 percent of ex-servicemen reside and they know the value of national security,” the minister said.
He also used the ceremony, where students, teachers and intellectuals were present, to drive home the importance of inculcating nationalism. “Education teaches you nationalism. Those who are not properly educated will not understand it. One should be loyal to their country. The world knows how a person without loyalty towards his nation is treated. I only have to say that when you live in this country and eat what it offers, you should be loyal."
The defence minister also assured that the demand for establishing a sainik school in the hills and other pressing issues would be taken up with the Union Government. “There is a demand for setting up a sainik school in the hills. There are certain procedures that need to be followed. And the state government also needs to be consulted. But I will definitely try and do something for establishing a sainik school here,” he said.
The GTA agreement and act has a provision for setting up a sainik school along with absorbing hill youths in the paramilitary and police forces among others.
When asked for his comments on the union minister’s visit, Gurung said, “We are glad that the defence minister came here to inaugurate the model school. As far as the statehood demand is concerned, a nine member delegation will head to Delhi to pursue the matter once elections in Uttar Pradesh get over." (EOIC)