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Hawaldar Sher Bahadur Thapa - unsung Sino-India war hero

7:55 AM
Remembering forgotten Sino-India 1962 War hero Late Hav. Shere Thapa is no less a martyr than Anyone.

                      ‘Punya Smaran
   Swargiya Hawaldar Sher Bahadur Thapa
                 2 J &K RIF “Bodyguard”
   
       Is veer ne 1962 mein Chiniyo ki chakke udaye
Inka naam yahan ke bacche bacche ke zaban par hain
       Deshvasiyo ki aur se tumhe sat- sat pranam.’

Itanagar , Fri, 19 Oct 2012 ANI
By Pradeep Kumar (ANI)

Itanagar, Oct. 19 (ANI): His light machine gun boomed relentlessly, like a roaring tiger. One after another unsuspecting Chinese soldiers were killed and fell into the Ngo River without anyone to count. The day was October 18 half-a-century ago.

A brave Shere Thapa of the Indian Army's 2 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, hiding in a very advantageous position, fired non-stop as his lone soldier-mate continued changing the carbines.
Hawaldar Sher Bahadur Thapa - unsung Sino-India war hero

The People's Liberation Army of China had sneaked through the Tama Chung Chung Ridge. Thapa had positioned himself on a vertical slope - invincible high mountain ridge on one side, steep slope down to the Ngo stream, the source of the Subansiri River, on the other side. He had located the most strategic place, either to stop or kill the advancing Chinese soldiers.

Thapa did not notice anymore Chinese after emptying all magazines with the fired brash khokas lying scattered. He confidently came out of his bunker for a recce. Death was waiting for him. He peeped towards the heap of corpses with great satisfaction. A wounded, but alive Chinese soldier, lying on the heap along with his colleagues fired, killing him instantly.

The corpses of the Chinese soldiers were piled up so much that the river failed to carry them. This is the folklore. The great soldier is highly revered in the area for his gallantry act.

Comparatively, brave Thapa was no less a war hero than subedar Jaswant Singh Rawat (No. 4039009 of the 4th Garhwal Rifles Bn), who had fought a lone battle against the invading Chinese in Eastern Sector (Tawang). He was conferred the highest military honour, the Param Vir Chakra, for his bravery. Jaswant Garh, a few km ahead of the pass, stands tall today as a testimony to his heroism.

Political interpreter Chader Mangha along with many villagers, who carried supplies, arms and ammunition for Thapa's Army section, were witness to his bravery. Mangha, who died in 1994,was given a commendation certificate by the GoI in recognition of his service to the nation and promoted to the rank of political assistant. He had also narrated the entire episode to his daughter Yating Byaling a resident of Gosing Taying village under Taksing circle, wife of RD Minister Tanga Byaling. Byaling also vouch of the bravery of Thapa and the village folk.

Even the Chinese had respectfully buried him and left a small note praising his bravery. Why none ever bothered to honour his brave act, even posthumously is intriguing? I have high respect for Rawat as he was a great martyr, but Thapa deserves equal honour.

Villagers inhabiting the Indo-China border claim that the PLA had sent its troops through passes, including Taksing, Mechuka, Anini, etc where the forces camped waiting for orders. Had the war prolonged, Chinawould have launched a multi-pronged attack but withdrew its forces after cessation of firing, following 29 days (Oct 18 to Nov 16, 1962) of fierce battle, leading to the humiliating defeat of the Indian Army.
Supply line was cut off following retreat order which never reached the duo. Left with no food and insufficient ammunition, they feared any eventuality and decided to fight till death. Thapa sacrificed his life in Middle sector (Upper Subansiridistrict) while protecting Mother India. His mortal remains were brought to Lemiking, last rites performed and a grave built there. The neglected grave and a bridge named after him are evidences of his heroism.

"The first bridge, named after soldier Shere Thapa, with a 600m steep climb...." is the reference about him with picture of his grave found in 'Secrets of Subansiri, Himalayan Club, recoding the 2005 expedition report by a group of trekkers to famous Buddhist pilgrimage Takpa Shiri; Arunachal Expedition - Takpa Shiri; In Search of Old Pilgrimage Route to Takpa Siri 2005 and India 2005 - Alpine Journal.
Thapa knew well that without any road and communication then, expecting any support from the base camp was well neigh impossible. He decided to face the enemies as a brave soldier of Mother India. Shouldn't he be recognized, albeit late, and due honour given by bringing his heroic story before the nation.

I presumed that martyr Shere Thapa,  might not have a god father or a senior Army officer to recommend their brave act. But with facts surfacing, it is still not late to honour them. By Pradeep Kumar (ANI).

We appreciate and grateful to Hon’ble Minister Tourism Shri Nakap Nalo for rediscovering buried  story of our True Hero, a Martyr of 1962 war Late Hav. Shere Thapa.

 Via All Arunachal Pradesh Gorkha Welfare Youth Association

Understanding NRC: A Politically Neutral Perspective

8:27 AM
Writes: Phinjo Wangyal Gurung

"Writing is not just a form of divertissement but a healing process that soothes a perturbed and stressful mind, rejuvenates your spirit, and brings you back to life."
National Register of Citizens of India
National Register of Citizens of India - Wikipedia

An atmosphere of dubiety seems to have taken over the hills ever since the announcement that once BJP forms government at the center it will Implement National Register of Citizens (NRC) throughout India. People are muddled about how NRC will affect the Indian Gorkhas in real time. Contrary to the popular belief, NRC will have a definite impact on the Indian Gorkhas unless certain conditions and safeguards are met. Here in this small write up I will try and dissect NRC from a political neutral viewpoint bringing out only those facts that are related to NRC along with its implications on the Indian Gorkhas once implemented.

What is NRC?
The National Register of Citizens is a register containing the names of all the genuine Indian citizens, it was first prepared in 1951 for Assam. NRC draws its power from the Citizenship Act of 1955 and the Rules framed therein. The main objective of preparing the register is to identify illegal immigrants as foreigners and deport them back to their countries.

Issues Related with NRC
(1) The Question of Immunity
After the publication of the first draft of NRC in Assam last year about 40 lakh people were identified as illegal migrants and were excluded from NRC for various reasons, including some 1,50,000 Gorkhas, despite the fact that BJP had promised that Gorkhas living in Assam would not be excluded. Amit Shah recently made a similar promise from Kalimpong that the Gorkhas living in Darjeeling Hills will not be excluded from NRC. With BJPs protracted and strained history of breaking the Gorkhas trust and faith, only time will tell if he is really going to walk the talk this time.

Once excluded from NRC, the person ceases to be a citizen of India. He will no longer be entitled to the rights guaranteed to an Indian Citizen under the constitution and law including the right to vote. The implementation of NRC should not be taken daintily, it is an issue of profound importance with far-reaching consequence as the fate and citizenship rights of lakh of India Gorkhas is at stake here. Immunity, therefore, becomes a matter of paramount concern for all the Indian Gorkhas.

The question now arises as to why about 1,50,000 Indian Gorkhas were excluded from the register in Assam (similar exclusion can happen in Darjeeling) despite the fact that NDA government had assured them that Gorkhas living in Assam will not be touched by NRC. The answer to this question lies in the Citizenship Act of 1955.

It should be noted that NRC draws its power and authority from the Citizenship Act of 1955, therefore, any question of Immunity can only be granted through an act of Parliament by amending the Citizenship Act . Verbal assurances given at the time of the election in the election manifesto, which itself has no legal support is inutile.

The NDA Government had brought a Bill i.e. Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 which had granted immunity from being declared an illegal immigrant to persons belonging to Hindus, Buddhist, Jains, and Sikhs coming from Bangladesh and Pakistan, however, the said Bill did not mention Indian Gorkhas.  To add insult to injury the Bill did not see the light of the day and died its natural death in the Rajya Sabha. For an Ordinary Bill to be passed into a law it has to be passed by both the houses of the parliament with a simple majority. BJP led NDA still does not have the required numbers in the Rajya Sabha. Although it commands an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha it is still a minority in the Rajya Sabha. Rajya Sabha is BJPs Achilles Heel. This is the reason why the names of thousands of Indian Gorkhas living in Assam were struck of the National  Register on some flimsy grounds. Despite lofty promises being made the promises were not backed by law. As the commitment lacked legal support it could not be implemented therefore the fate and citizenship rights of thousands of Indian Gorkhas living in Assam still hangs in limbo.

A similar situation is brewing up in Darjeeling, only verbal assurances have been given by the party president. The Bill as it stands today, still does not specifically mention ” Indian Gorkhas”. Even if somehow the party manages to include Indian Gorkhas in the Citizenship Amendment Bill, there is no guarantee that the Bill will pass as BJP is a minority in Rajya Sabha and does not command enough support to pass an Ordinary  Bill in one go. Therefore implementing NRC in Darjeeling without specific legal immunity to the INDIAN GORKHAS is suicidal.

(2) Documentation and related matters
It has been found that the names of many persons in Assam were dropped from the draft NRC only because of minor differences in the spellings of Bengali names into English in different documents.  Several instances were encountered where a single letter variation, for example, “Omar” and “Onar”, was enough to rule that a person was a foreigner. I now ask how many of us in Darjeeling are not facing similar problems? How many of us have all their and the names of their family members correctly spelled in all their documents? To be honest I don’t. If that be the case my name along with the names of my family members will be struck off the NRC if implemented.

Likewise the rural unlettered are typically vague about their date of birth. A person could be excluded from the register if he/she told the NRC tribunal 40 when the documents recorded to be 42.

Rural uneducated women are especially in danger of exclusion from the citizenship register.  Most of them have no birth certificates, are not sent to schools and are married before they become adults, therefore, by the time their names first appear in the voters list these are in a different village where they live after marriage, which is different from those of their parents. They are told by the NRC tribunal that they have no documents to prove that they are indeed the children of the people they claim are their parents. There were cases in ASSAM of being excluded from the citizenship register on this ground alone.

(3) Opaque Process
NRC empowers the Assam police to identify anyone it suspects as foreigners and illegal migrants. How many of us can repose 100% faith and vouch that the police force works with impeccable integrity? If the police are granted such wide powers don’t you think that such power can be abused? Anyone can be picked up by the police on flimsy ground and be declared a foreigner anytime.

The police have also been empowered to refer the cases to a Foreigners Tribunal(FT). It has been alleged that the Tribunals are not presided by judges but by lawyers and in some cases by persons with no legal knowledge, who were appointed by the party.

Moreover, it has also been alleged that the police and the presiding officers in FTs( foreigners tribunal ) work just to fulfill the targets that are set by the party and not to dispense justice.

Not to mention the enormous amount of money one needs to spend fighting these legal cases in the Tribunals proving ones citizenship once declared a foreigner or an illegal migrant under NRC.

(4) The Question of Double Jeopardy
Article 20(2) of the constitution guarantees to every citizen the right not to be prosecuted and punished for the same offense more than once as a fundamental Right. But this principle has been waived off for Foreigners Tribunals(FT). It has been found that even after an FT had confirmed a citizen of India another FT and at times the same FT can again send notice to the same person to prove his citizenship once again. This is a direct violation of Article 20(2) as guaranteed by the constitution of India.

With the entire burden of proving citizenship on one’s shoulders and the arbitrary and opaque multiple forums to which one will be summoned, people deprived of education and resource will be caught in a maze of bureaucratic red tape from which they will find it hard to emerge. There are indeed few parallels in the world where the state itself produces statelessness on the scale and manner that it is doing in Assam and soon in the Hill areas of Darjeeling. Political parties advocating NRC in Darjeeling should exercise caution and do so only after an in-depth analysis of ground realities, after taking into confidence all the stakeholder without which the future and Citizenship Rights of thousands of Indian Gorkhas living in the area could be jeopardized once and for all.

Via The DC

Shiva Thapa 1st Indian to Assure 4th Straight Asian Boxing Championships Medal

6:26 PM
Shiva Thapa 1st Indian to Assure 4th Straight Asian Boxing Championships Medal

Bangkok: Shiva Thapa (60kg) secured himself an unprecedented fourth successive medal, while veteran L Sarita Devi (60kg) made the semifinals for the first time in nearly a decade to continue India's stupendous run at the Asian Boxing Championships here on Tuesday.

In all, eight Indian boxers -- four women and four men -- advanced to the medal rounds on day two of quarterfinals.

The 25-year-old Thapa defeated Thailand's Rujakran Juntrong in a one-sided lightweight (60kg) contest. He prevailed 5-0 and has a tough semifinal lined up against Kazakhstan's Zakir Safiullin, a silver-medallist from the 2015 edition.

Thapa had won a gold in 2013, a bronze in 2015 and a silver in the 2017 edition of the marquee continental event. He is the first Indian to achieve the incredible feat.

In the women's draw, former world champion Sarita, who last reached the Asian semis back in 2010 and ended with a gold, defeated Kazakhstan's Rimma Volossenko in a split decision to advance.

Former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg) too booked her maiden semifinal berth at the tournament, beating Kazakhstan's Nazym Kyzaibay in the quarters.

Last edition's silver-medallist Manisha (54kg) also secured herself at least a bronze by defeating Filipino Petecio Zzaa Nice, while former national champion Simranjit Kaur (64kg) edged past a gritty Ha Thi Linh of Vietnam to make the last four.

Joining Thapa in the men's semifinals were Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Satish Kumar (+91kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg) and Ashish (69kg).

Ashish Kumar got the better of Kyrgyzstan's Omerbek Uulu Behzhigit in a unanimous verdict, while his namesake trounced Vietnam's Tran Duc Tho 5-0, displaying an impeccable counter-attacking game.

In the evening session, Satish out-punched Korean Kim Dohyeon, an exhausting showdown that left the Indian with a cut above his right eye.

Thapa, who is also a former world championship bronze-medallist and a two-time national champion, opened the proceedings for India and got busy immediately.

The Indian had a spring in his step as he went about dismantling his clueless opponent.

The technically superior Thapa also seemed to have added some more power to his punches and an aggressive streak which his rival found tough to deal with.

Ashish, on the other hand, was locked in a messy contest with Bekzhigit but was clearly the more accurate of the two boxers, finding favour with all the five judges.

Sarita also endured a draining contest against Volossenko but the veteran from Manipur raised the bar when it mattered to move ahead.

The performance in the championship is a turnaround of sorts for the 37-year-old, who ended without a medal at the world championships in Delhi last year.

However, Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Naman Tanwar (91kg) bowed out after losing his quarterfinal bout to Jordan's Hussein Eishaish Iashaish 0-5.

In the women's draw, it was curtains for Nupur (75kg) after she went down to North Korean Pak Un Sim in her quarterfinal bout.

Source: NEWS18

Legendary Singer Aruna Lama Conferred Nepal Ratna Award April 14, 2019: Legendary

4:48 PM
Nepali singer Smt. Aruna Lama (Pradhan), born in Darjeeling, was conferred the prestigious Nepal Ratna, Mahaujjwal Rashtradeep Award (Suprabal Janasewa Shree Tritiya) for her contribution to promoting Nepali music around the world. The President of Nepal, Bidya Devi Bhandari conferred the award at a special ceremony held at the Office of the President, Maharajgunj.

Legendary Singer Aruna Lama Conferred Nepal Ratna Award
Born on the 9th of September, 1945 at Ghoom Pahar, Darjeeling, Aruna Lama is popularly known as the “Nightingale of the Hills”. She has rendered hundreds of Nepali songs and left an indelible mark as one of the finest Nepali singers.

The illustrious title by the Nepal government is conferred on  Nepali citizens and foreigners who make outstanding contributions to the welfare of Nepal and Nepali language and art.

Via The DC

Mamata Banerjee's announcement to woo the hill voters

9:09 PM
TMC
Darjeeling: In a public meeting jointly held by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM Binay Faction) and Trinamool Congress TMC Mamata Banerjee made some important announcements just 7 days before Darjeeling goes to vote. The meeting was attended by various Development Boards,  the Hill TMC and GJM (Binay Anit Faction).
Mamata Banerjee's announcement to woo the hill voters
Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling 

Following are West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s announcement in chowk Bazar, Darjeeling today at the public meeting.

1.)  The compensation of the tea garden workers during 105 days strike (Rs 15000) to be given in terms of humanity after the election.

2.) The landright documents to be given to the resident of Tea Estate, Cinchona plantation , Muncipality and D.I. Fund areas.

3)  The national identity and Security  of the Gorkhas to be fulfilled.

4) Three MLS to be from GJM

5) resumption of registration of flats and private properties in Darjeeling Municipality Area.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has played her cards well, now the ball is on the other side of the court. With these announcements she has urged people to vote for Amar Singh Rai, Tronamool candidate from Darjeeling in the upcoming Lok Sabha Election.


Open Letter to Mr Amar Singh Rai, from an Ex- student

6:12 PM


Dear Amar Sir,

It's been a long time since we have been in touch and you probably won’t remember my name and face, even if I brought it here.
Unfortunately the situation in the hills is such that I cannot even do that. I cannot write this open letter with my real name and identity because the political party you are from and the party which has nominated you as their MP candidate don’t know what democracy is and how it works.
 The concept of Freedom of Speech is rocket science to them and they willfully ignore that it is my constitutional right. For that matter they don’t even know what Constitution is. So I apologise for bothering you anonymously.

But the questions I raise here, are genuine.

It’s been almost a decade that I passed out from College but had always carried the pride of being one of your students. Always looked upon you as a man of intellect, integrity and statesmanship. But now I FEEL LET DOWN.
Open Letter to Mr Amar Singh Rai, from an Ex- student.
Amar Singh Rai with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

In 2016, when your name was announced by the then GJMM as the MLA candidate from Darjeeling,it was a very exciting and proud moment for me, I still remember texting to almost all my Whatsapp contacts about you and asking them all to vote for you. Wrote articles and posts in social media in your  support, campaigned for you in my locality and to my relatives. I did everything possible in my own little way  to make you win.

But now, I FEEL BETRAYED. Yes sir, you betrayed me and 10000s like me.
Why sir? Why?

I never expected your political ambition would one day make you choose the camp of traitors and band of enemies.  Never thought you would be so unscrupulous behind that polite, decent,well-mannered personality. Was that a farce or is what you show today one?

Anyway, let me stop this emotional rant and lay down what I am here to say. I have few questions for you sir. I don’t expect to you reply to me, because I am very aware that there’s no reply and even if the reply comes it would be nothing but lies and deceit mired in ambiguity.

Sir, I have noticed that you have been promising people in Tea Estates, Cinchona Garden and Forest Dwellers about their Land Rights. That reminded me of the GJMM Manifesto of 2016 (Of course I have shared that manifesto to 100s of people while campaigning for you) and the promises you made that time. My question is how many times have you raised the issue in Bidhan Sabha in past 2 years?

You are a very learned and knowledgeable person (at least that’s what I believed), especially about civic and political science. I don’t have to remind you that Land is the subject matter that comes under the State List of power distribution in our Constitution.

So, don’t you think you were/are in a perfect place as a MLA in state assembly to press for the demand of Land Rights for our people?
Where on earth did you get the idea of going to Delhi (Lok Sabha) for getting something that is in Kolkata (Bidhan Sabha)? I apologise if I sound disrespectful here but it seems to me you are losing your intellectuality by being in the company of liars and frauds. Or have you turned into one too?

Sir, the party and the leader that has nominated you for MP has been in power for the past 7 years in the state. They had every authority and capacity to grant Land Rights to our people but they never looked into that. How can you now stand along with them and tell our people that is what the party will provide for them?
Sir, why are you fooling us? The Chief Minister and her administrative and political dispensation’s policy towards us has always been that of a colonist, what makes you  think that she has changed her attitude toward us?

You talk about the welfare of Tea workers but do you know (off course you know) that one of the Tea Garden Owner who hasn’t paid blood and sweat money of 6 tea garden workers and abandoned thousands of them is from the same party you are a  candidate of and he still enjoys political protection from the leader whose ticket you are contesting on? Even you must know, she is a top class hypocrite. She talks about the welfare of tea workers, and yet she protects the people who subjugate them? And you have been speaking the same language in recent days. Why this hypocrisy sir? Why this sycophancy sir? 

By the way, there has been an allegation that your party compromised on the 5% of Bonus of the Tea workers, so that the tea garden owners would benefit?  Do you think such  people will work for the welfare of our Tea Workers?

Sir, do you remember what happened in 2017? Do you remember how they tried to impose their language upon us? Do you know how we had to bleed to oppose and safeguard our language? It’s the same power and people whom who you are trying to project today as a messiah.Why sir? The person and power who wanted to dilute our language, culture, identity is today talking about giving  us “identity” and you want us to believe that?? Why are you trying to fool yourself and us too sir??

And the most shocking, but now no more surprising was the statement you made day before in a press conference. “No, No, Gorkhaland is not in our Agenda”, well that was much anticipated. The day you joined Enemy of Jaati, you buried the Agenda of Gorkhaland. But the most upsetting is what you said after that. “Because we feel that there are other priorities, more important than Gorkhaland”, Really!! You got something more important than Gorkhaland?? What is that? You political ambition? Money? What is it?

No, don’t tell me about “development” thing.

Remember, I am your student and you cannot fool me with that “development” narrative. Please don’t even try to. I have seen the “development” of your leader, I know the definition of “development” of your political colleagues. And I know they know nothing about it.

You newfound leader has time and again categorically put “Bongo Vongo Hobena”. And you want us to believe that our identity issue will be solved without bifurcating the state??
Sir, are you the same Amar Singh Rai who taught us?? Do you even remember what your political thought, ideology and principle was?

Sir, a very important question to you. You were a political pundit and I do hope your Political anticipation capacity hasn’t eroded yet. Have you ever thought what the impression, effect of the so called Caste based “Development Boards” will be in the  coming census of 2021 when all will be asked to write their language based on their caste? Don’t you think the Nepali Language speaking (as per census) people will be reduced to a minority? And won't that lead to the removal of our language from 8th schedule of Indian Constitution? And won't that led to dilution and loss of our only constitutional guarantee? Now tell me who initiated such move to divide us and demean us and dilute our identity? Isn’t she the same person who you want us to believe will work for our identity?? 

Sir, I am disappointed. You have betrayed me. I cannot wish you the best in this election. Because you have joined the camp that enjoys killing us, have snatched our rights, burned our homes, threatens to rape our mothers and sisters. In the last 2 elections of yours, I supported you. Voted for you. Campaigned for you. But I am sorry sir, this election I will vote for my community. I will vote to safeguard my Jaati from enemies outside and within.
I don’t know who will win but I hope you don’t.

Thanking you.
A disappointed student of yours.
 
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