|Gorkhali Sudhar Sabha (GSS) with Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat - pic via GSS website|
Speaking on the occasion, Lt Col BS Chettri, president GSS, said, "In Uttarakhand, Gorkhas constitute approximately 12% of the population and yet do not find any mention in Wikipedia or websites that list the communities which form the state. This year, across the country, we are celebrating 200 years of Gorkha presence in India and it is high time that they are given their due and acknowledged."
Incidentally, while the Centre had listed Gorkhas as OBCs, Chettris and Bahuns were not listed. Earlier this year, Uttarakhand high court had directed that the two castes be included in the OBC list.
Besides, the GSS wanted the establishment of a Zonal Recruitment Office (ZRO) in Dehradun. The ZRO is responsible for recruitment of personnel into the Army from Uttarakhand but at present it is located in Lucknow.
The members also demanded that some chowks and parks be named after Gorkha martyrs and freedom-fighters, which the CM consented to.
Besides these demands, the GSS members were aggrieved over the recent state order directing that migrants from Bangladesh and Gorkhas be barred from being given gas connections, ration cards, voter IDs and land registrations in Pithoragarh district. After the CM was apprised of this, directions were given to revoke the order.
"GSS had sent 11 truckloads of relief material to Nepal and it included food packets, tents, blankets, medicines among other items and members had undertaken arduous journey to Nepal to deliver the material. It was a great moment for the entire community to be felicitated by the chief minister. We are glad that some of our demands also have been heard," said Prabha Shah, media incharge,GSS.
Incidentally, Dehradun houses a one of its kind memorial in the world — "The Kalinga war memorial" — which the victorious British army had set up in honour of the Gorkhas for their bravery at the Battle of Nalapani marking it perhaps the first such memorial constructed by the victor for the vanquished.