CALCUTTA, April 15, Reuter: Gurkha separatists in Darjeeling in Indian Himalayas are sending letters, pamphlets! And audiocassettes to Gurkhas in the Indian army urging them to desert the military and join their movement.

D.P. Patra, Chief of Darjeeling administration in the Eastern Indian State of West Bengal, confirmed on Friday that the appeals have been sent to the soldiers. “But we do not know the extent of the problem”, he said in an interview.

Gurkhas, famed for their loyalty and fighting abilities, are mainly recruited in Nepal and form about eight per cent of Indian army of nearly one million, an official said. Gurkha formations also serve in the British army

The Gurkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) is fighting for autonomy for Gurkhas in the Darjeeling hills.

According to an army intelligence source, the officers first came across such letters and cassettes early last year.

“Many serving Gurkhas received alarming letters from Darjeeling district saying the police was torturing and killing their families, ransacking their home. This naturally perturbed the men”, he said.

But a senior army officer said “Gurkhas are too loyal to be fooled by such propaganda”.

Article extracted from this publication >> April 22, 1988