Writes: Vivek Chhetri
The All India Nepali Schedule Caste Association today threatened to launch a dharna at Nabanna and a hunger strike after that if the state failed to start the process of amending the GTA Act in a month to provide seat reservation for the community in the hill body.
Today, 1,000-odd members of the association brought out a silent rally from Darjeeling railway station to Chowrasta.
They also demanded a development board for the community and a 100-point roster system on GTA job reservation.
G.N. Lomjel, general secretary of the association, said: "One of our main demands is seat reservation. We would request the state to start the process by amending the GTA Act in a month failing which, we will stage a dharna at Nabanna. After that, we might sit for an indefinite hunger strike."
There are 45 elected seats in the GTA and none of them are reserved. The community did not have any reservation in the 28 elected seats of the erstwhile Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council as well.
"Seat reservation in the GTA must reflect our community's population in the hills which now stands at 17.5 per cent. We are deprived since 1988 (when DGHC was formed)," said association president R. Thatal. "If the GTA Act is not amended within the winter session, we are thinking of boycotting the coming elections," he said without elaborating.
"Our other demands include formation of a development board for the SC community and job reservation in the GTA. We will also write to the National Schedule Caste Commission," Thatal added.
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said: "We will raise the demand at the meeting in Calcutta tomorrow."
Source: Telegraph, Pic: Himalaya Darpan