Showing posts with label Darjeeling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Darjeeling. Show all posts

ELECTION 2019: NRC, the latest talking point

3:11 PM
Writes NN Ojha

BJP chief Amit Shah’s declaration in Alipurduar on 29 March that NRC will be implemented in West Bengal if BJP came to power has  ignited a debate about how NRC might impact people in Darjeeling hills. The debate has further intensified after Prime Minister Modi repeated his party chief’s statement during his public address in Jalpaiguri on 3 April. While doing so PM assured that the exercise will not harm the Gorkhas in any way. He however avoided saying if it would bring any benefits to the Gorkha. As expected TMC chief Mamta Banerjee took no time in countering the BJP leadership’s statements adding that NRC is a political ploy of BJP to cause dissensions in society and coupled with the Citizens Amendment Bill (CAB) 2016 the scheme makes their communal agenda clear.

In an polarised political atmosphere combined with soon to be held elections debates often tend to be reduced to canvassing and propaganda  for or against the parties in the fray.  The debate on NRC sparked off by Amit Shah and Narendra Modi is no exception.

Preparation, establishment and maintenance of a ‘National Register of Indian Citizens’ (NRC) is provided for in The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issuing of National Identity Cards) Rules originally framed in 1956 as last amended in July 2003. Rule 3(1) of these rules mandates the Registrar General of Citizens Registration ‘to establish and maintain NRC for the whole of India’, not selectively for any particular state or UT

Two questions arise; one, if NRC is mandated for the whole of India why do Amit Shah or Narenfra Modi single out West Bengal for its introduction repeatedly and second, Is the NRC capable of yielding results as per its stated objectives. For examining both these questions we will have to look to the ongoing exercise on NRC in Assam.

In spite of applicability of NRC all over the country Assam is the only state to have had it introduced way back in 1951. The reasons for this exception are in Assam’s  peculiar historical background. The state has had problem of immigrants ever since it was ceded to the  British colonial rulers by the Burmese rulers in 1826.  Alarm bells were rung for the first time in 1931 when CS Mullen Superintendent of Census reported about ‘invasion by hordes of land-hungry immigrants on Assam in the last 25 years that could destroy the whole structure of Assamese culture and civilisation’. The problem  persisted even after independence with an added dimension of national security after the partition of India. As a result an Assam specific legislation, Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act 1950 was passed by the Parliament and Assam became the very first state of India to have an NRC in 1951 for identification and expulsion of illegal immigrants as per the Act.

The exception made in case of Assam because of compulsions of history and law does not take away the fundamental point that as per existing law NRC’s applicability is for the whole of India and singling out west Bengal in particular on election eve is legally and politically improper. We will examine possible reasons for this intimidatory singling out of West Bengal little later. First let us see what has been our experience of Assam NRC in terms of results achieved.

The main objective of  NRC was to identify illegal immigrants  and expel them. Barely ten years after the first NRC the 1961 census found number of illegal immigrants in Assam  to be nearly 2.25 lakhs. In a white paper issued by the Home department of Assam the estimate shot up to five lakhs. In the draft NRC published under the ongoing updation currently underway nearly four millions claimants to citizenship have been excluded for want of certainty about their citizenship status. It is obvious NRC has not contained the influx of illegal migrants in the State even after six decades of its introduction in 1951.

Let us look at the other objective of expulsion of illegal migrants after they are identified as such following the NRC. In  February this year during the  hearing of current status of Assam NRC updation government of India submitted before the apex court that out of 52000 individuals identified as foreigners by the Tribunal set up under Foreigners Act of 1946 only 162 were deported. This is an irrefutable proof of the failure of NRC in curbing infiltration or expelling infiltrators. Interestingly it was also submitted by the government before the court that 27000 individuals attempting to cross over from the border into Assam were pushed back by our security forces. Quite obviously a vigorous security setup to guard the borders against infiltration is more effective than an elaborate and time and resource consuming exercise of NRC that till now has hardly resulted in anything but discord and disaffection in society and harassment and humiliation of our own citizens.

These being the results why the idea of NRC is being marketed so aggressively by BJP for Bengal? Obviously the motive appears political. When you see NRC in conjunction with BJP’s another brainchild the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2016 the motive becomes crystal clear. CAB divides illegal immigrants into infiltrators liable to be expelled and refugees likely to be granted citizenship depending upon the faith they practise. Thus by combining the two BJP may expect to neutralise anti BJP vote of those liable to be expelled and  consolidate its hold on those likely to be granted citizenship. People in Assam and other North Eastern states see CAB as a counter measure to nullify the objectives of NRC and have risen in protest against what they term  BJP’s   duplicity.

How will NRC if introduced in Bengal impact people in Darjeeling region? We have PM  Modi simply saying this won’t harm the Gorkhas but choosing not to say that it would benefit them. Then we have Raju Bista saying NRC will benefit the Gorkha by making them more secure in their land without explaining how exactly. At the cutting edge level we have  BJP supporters canvassing relentlessly that if NRC comes ‘90% of the Bengali speaking people in terai and duars will be pushed back to Bangladesh’. I am not aware how they are sure of their figures or the end result. However they seem unaware of the perilous procedure fraught with long spells of harassment, humiliation and uncertainty for the common man irrespective of who is pushed back to another country and who is entitled to remain in the end. They are also unaware that if CAB comes - and it is sure to come if NRC comes, both being dependent on BJP’s return to power - then many among those our friends are expecting to be pushed back to Bangladesh may end up getting citizenship due to the faith they practise. Obviously the painstaking propaganda by some of our youngsters is either a command performance or due to ignorance about the procedure involved. My advise to them is to go through the Citizenship (Registration of citizens and issuing of National Identity cards) Rules of 1956 and their 22 amendments, the last one being of 7 July 2003 and be unbiased in their views.

It is true that no Gorkha can be liable for expulsion from India irrespective of whether or not there is NRC in Bengal. Even those who may be deemed to be citizens of Nepal and not India can remain under the Indo-Nepal treaty of 1950. To that extent the PM is right that NRC will not harm the Gorkhas but there is no additional benefit that it brings to the table for Gorkhas which the Gorkhas don’t have already. When you think of this status quo with or without NRC and take into account the harassment, humiliation, uncertainty and the enormous resources needed for the exercise it may appear to be futile and even counter productive. In Assam where just an updation exercise for an existing NRC is going on nearly 40000 workers (30000 regular government  employees and 10000 contract workers) are engaged in the task. Twenty different types of customised computer soft wares have been developed mostly through private sector at huge cost and over 2500 data digitisation hubs established for the purpose. Diversion of such huge resources for an exercise at the end of which you are getting ready with another law to grant citizenship to many who may be found to be illegal immigrants or if you are able to deport only 162 illegals out of 52000 identified definitely needs to be given a fresh look. If your motives are purely political for which you couldn’t care less for the resources or  the harassment common people are subjected to during the exercise then it is a different story.

I am not for a moment arguing that we need not have NRC and let India be a caravan serai for immigrants. What I am saying is do not use NRC as an electoral gimmick and if you have NRC at huge cost to the nation do not neutralise its gains by a counter statute like the CAB. My argument is also to see if the objectives of NRC could be fulfilled by having a robust border guarding system instead of the cumbersome and frightfully expensive procedures involved in NRC that also become unduly bothersome for the common man. My appeal to every one is not to mix up a legal issue that also has bearing on national security with petty politics and unfounded or exaggerated claims about its gains or pitfalls.

Via The DT

Darjeeling Lok Sabha Election 2019 and the Gorkhas

9:10 AM
TMC
Darjeeling Parliamentary Constituency Election 2019 and the Gorkhas: Some Observations

Writes: Dr Vimal Khawas

The Gorkhas of Darjeeling Hills, as initially decided, could not arrive at a common consensus candidate. Therefore, a total of sixteen (16) potential and aspiring candidates affiliated to various political parties as well as those desiring to contest as independent candidates have filed their nominations for the position of the Member of Parliament from Darjeeling Lok Sabha Constituency in the upcoming General Elections, 2019. Darjeeling Constituency is, perhaps, one of the most fiercely contested constituencies in the country today.


If we closely examine the current electoral landscape in the region, the pattern broadly looks as follows:

Clearly, chances of an independent candidate to emerge victoriously are slim to none, both because of their past political baggage and also due to the lack of their ability to create an adequate platform for grassroots mobilizations. Further, lesser political parties like, CPIM, BSP, IDRF, GRC and even national parties like INC may also not be able to wield much impact in the ensuing election due to both local and regional political dynamics.

Consequently, there are primarily two probable political scenarios to choose from before us for this election. Leaving aside political contenders highlighted above, the real fight is only between TMC (supported by GJMM2) and BJP (supported by GJMM1 and GNLF).

Scenario #1:

If we vote for TMC and make them victorious, there is a very high degree of probability that Mamata Banerjee would gradually grab the entire region under her fold. This election is just a gateway for Mamata and her party TMC to bigger political shares in the region via MLA and GTA elections, subsequently. The steady increase of TMC domination in the hills also means steady uprooting and waning of Gorkha identity and Gorkha political aspirations. They are inversely related to each other.

Under such a situation, in a decade or two, the entire notion of Gorkha and Gorkhaland may have been rendered irrelevant! We may be only referred to as a Thapa, a Chettri, a Bhujel, a Damai, a Rai, a Kami, a Sherpa, a Limbu, a Lepcha, a Bahun, a Dukpa, a Sarki, a Newar or Nepalis and many times immigrant Nepalis. We would, most probably, cease to be the Gorkhas. No one would have the guts to utter ‘Jai Gorkha’. We all may collectively and/or forcefully be made to chant ‘Jai Bangla’.

She is already on her way up the hills with a number of detrimental political cards. Her Development Board approach is one of the ways forward in this regard. She would never go for such appeasement politics had she loved the region and its people, to the extent of dividing the Gorkhas into ethnic lines. More importantly, TMC’s unscientific and draconic handling of the 2013 and 2017 Gorkhaland agitation/uprising is yet another critical example of how it perceives the Gorkhas and their long pending aspirations in the region.

Scenario #2:

If we vote for BJP and render them victorious, nothing may happen. The last 10 years were rather fruitless and going by that trend, the next five years may not bear fruit, either.BJP may be busy spreading its political and strategic tentacles across geographical spaces of the country with its Hindutva card. It may keep on struggling to take control of Bengal but without any notable results. BJP would not give us Gorkhaland! They have their state government in Assam. Has Bodoland been able to see the light of the day?

This MP would, in all likelihood remain a mere puppet within the larger framework and schemes of Bharatiya Janata Party!

However, the Gorkhas will have the freedom to shout ‘Jai Gorkha’ and ‘We want Gorkhaland’ under BJP unlike under TMC which is fundamentally and ideologically against the idea of Gorkha and Gorkhaland! And yes Gorkhas would, at least, have the hope to have their own separate state called ‘Gorkhaland’ or to be known by any other name someday.

Sapana nai bhaye pani haami dekhneh chau ra dekhi rahaneh chau

The choice is ours, to opt for scenario #1 or #2. No one shall force us.

Concluding Note:

The unscientific, unorganized and premature conclusion of 2017 Gorkha uprising has deeply lowered the self-respect and dignity of the entire Gorkha community. It may be difficult to reinstate our old glory in the foreseeable future unless we unite and stay united. For the first time, I feel insecure to wear a T-shirt that reads ‘I support Gorkhaland’ even in Kalimpong, not to talk of Siliguri.

For me ‘Entry of TMC into Darjeeling Politics is beginning of the end of Gorkha Political Aspirations’

[Originally posted on : https://thedarjeelingchronicle.com/darjeeling-parliamentary-constituency-election-2019-and-the-gorkhas-some-observations/]

NRC Won't Hurt Gorkhas, Says PM Narendra Modi

11:31 AM
SILIGURI, WEST BENGAL: Insisting that he won't spare infiltrators, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday assured justice for refugees from neighbouring countries and said the Gorkha community in north Bengal won't be hurt by a National Register of Citizens (NRC).

"The way Modi has acted against Maoists and terrorists, similarly Modi is not going to spare infiltrators. On the other hand, this chowkidar would do justice to refugees who are victims of a historic blunder by the Congress," he said, in an obvious reference to the partition of the country in 1947.

PM Modi said he had been told that rumours were being spread about NRC in the Darjeeling Hills.




"I want to assure all Gorkha brothers and sisters from this stage that none of you will be inconvenienced because of the NRC," he said.

Three days back, the BJP had accused West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress of spreading misinformation regarding the impact of the NRC on the Gorkha community in the Darjeeling Hills.
"The Trinamool is running a false campaign in north Bengal through some local leaders. They are telling people that if NRC is implemented in Bengal, the Gorkhas living in the hills will have to leave the state," BJP national Secretary Rahul Sinha had said.

Without naming the Binoy Tamang led pro-Trinamool faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, PM Modi said he was warming all those "who are on the payroll of the Trinamool and spreading terror" that their days were over.

"The moment the BJP comes to power, those harassing innocent people will have to answer the law."
PM Modi said the alliance of "criminals and infiltrators" won't be able to continue for long in West Bengal and urged people to vote in the Lok Sabha elections fearlessly.

"I would like to urge BJP office bearers also to hold your ground. We are with you."


Via ndtv

लोकसभामा दार्जीलिङ समष्टिबाट गोर्खा प्रतिनिधित्वका सही हकदार श्री आर. बी. राई

7:36 PM
लोकसभामा दार्जीलिङ समष्टिबाट
गोर्खा प्रतिनिधित्वका सही हकदार श्री आर. बी. राई

अब भाजपाप्रति विश्वास रहेन । दार्जीलिङभरि योग्य गोर्खा व्यक्तित्वहरू हुँदा-हुँदै एउटा राजनैतिक अनुभवहीन भएको व्यक्तिलाई अघि सारिनु भनेको भाजपा गठबन्धनको हामी गोर्खाहरूप्रतिको हेलचेक्राइ हो । योग्य गोर्खा उम्मेदवार दिए पुनर्विचार गर्न सकिने मूडमा बसेको क्रामाकपाले अब श्री आर. बी. राईलाई उम्मेदवार बनाएर चुनाउमा जानुबाहेक अर्को विकल्प छैन ।   

यसैले श्री आर. बी. राईले दार्जीलिङ संसदीय क्षेत्रका उम्मेदवारको रूपमा भोलि आफ्नो नामांकन भर्नेछन् ।

 राज्यसभा र लोकसभाको अनुभव पहिलाबाटै प्राप्त गरिसकेका श्री राई एक इमान्दार नेता मात्र होइनन् तर उनी एक अनुभवी, अध्ययनशील र योग्य गोर्खा उम्मेदवार हुन् । राज्यसत्ताको सम्पूर्ण शक्ति लगाएर गोर्खाहरूको आवाजलाई निर्ममतापूर्वक दबाउने तृणमूल पार्टी अनि भारतीय गोर्खाहरूलाई बारम्बार धोका दिएर हाम्रो विश्वासमाथि खेलबाड गर्ने भारतीय जनता पार्टीका उम्मेदवारहरूविरुद्ध अब हामीले गोर्खाल्याण्ड मुद्दाका इमान्दार सिपाही श्री आर. बी. राईको पक्षमा आफ्नो बहुमूल्य मतदान गरेर गोर्खाल्याण्डप्रेमी जनताको परिचय दिनुछ । तृणमूल र भाजपाजस्ता फासिस्ट शक्तिहरूको विरुद्ध गणतान्त्रिक शक्तिलाई बलियो बनाउनुछ । बइमानलाई धेरैपल्ट सघायौँ, अब एकपल्ट इमान्दारलाई सघाएर हाम्रो असली सङ्ग्रामको सुरुवात त्यहीँ बिन्दुबाट गर्नुछ । जनताको नेतालाई जनताले नै चिन्नुछ, चुन्नुछ । अत: गोर्खाल्याण्डप्रेमी, गणतन्त्रप्रेमी सबै-सबै मतदाताहरूलाई आर. बी. राईको पक्षमा आफ्नो बहुमूल्य मत दिने विनम्र अनुरोध गरिन्छ ।

Raju Bista Declared BJP MP candidate from Darjeeling for Lok Sabha election

7:28 PM
GJM GNLF BJP candidate for Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat Declared

Raju Bista , 34 years old, Managing Director of Surya Roshni Ltd, a Gorkha from Manipur has been declared the candidate for Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat.
Raju Bhist Declared BJP MP candidate from Darjeeling
Raju Bista Declared BJP MP candidate from Darjeeling
Raju Bista has been the Managing Director at Surya Roshni Limited since October 29, 2012. Shri Bista served as a Deputy Managing Director of Surya Roshni Limited until October 29, 2012.

He joined Surya Foundation an NGO in furtherance of his deep rooted desire to develop the youth of the country. His management and planning skills are valuable factors in the growth of Surya.

He has been a Whole Time Director of Surya Roshni Limited since June 18, 2009. Shri Bista holds the directorship in Surya Global Steel Tubes Limited and Surya Global Infrastructure Limited. He is a Graduate in Arts from Manipur. He has done Executive Masters Programme in Business Administration with specialization in Marketing Management from National Institute of Business Management.

Sons without a Soil: Bhoomi is the Issue, Not Putra

8:19 PM
‘Bhoomiputra’ has become the latest catchphrase for political parties in Darjeeling Hills. CPRM was the first to announce former MP RB Rai as its candidate for 2019, soon followed by ‘bhoomiputra’ candidates from TMC-GJM (Binoy faction), Congress, CPIM. The lone ‘putri’ (daughter) in the fray is Reseeka Chhetri who has announced her candidacy as an independent contestant.

A New Catchphrase

Bhoomiputra or the son-of-the-soil theory is not new to Indian politics and have brought about sea change in the social narrative of our nation. However, for Darjeeling Hills, Bhoomiputra has never been an issue of asserting identity and have historically elected political representatives both from within and outside the region. After the Gorkhaland issue became the mainstream of Darjeeling Hills politics, people have always for the issue, notwithstanding party or leaders. The core philosophy of local politics has been aptly described in the words of Subash Ghising: “Party bhanda Jati thulo, Jati bhanda Maato thulo”

The whole jingoism about Bhoomiputra is only an attempt to divert public attention from the core issue of Gorkhaland. For every voter, Gorkhaland has always been the core political issue and the current generation have witnessed several dramas unfold around the statehood movement in their lives. After having made all efforts to divide the people through boards, councils, and administrations, the son-of-the-soil rhetoric is another ploy to crush the statehood movement and its supporters. This Bhumiputra debate is a classic case of using the ’US’ vs ‘THEM’ idea as a political tool.

The Friendship Treaty Bogey Call

The alliance of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and the Hills parties have conveniently shifted the goal post for Gorkhaland. In an article published by Economic Times, Binoy Tamang states “we must demand a review and revision of the India-Nepal Friendship treaty, and there should be a clear demarcation of borders between these two countries. This is the reason why people still call us Nepalese and treat us like foreigners. If this isn’t done, no way can we remove the foreigner tag. Gorkhaland has become a tool for politicians. Before every election, they sell us the dream of Gorkhaland. If we fail to correct the basic issues which are stopping us from getting Gorkhaland, Gorkhas will continue to die and we will never achieve our goal”.

The Government of India formed an Eminent Person’s Group (EPG) in 2014, comprising of experts from both India and Nepal to examine the Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty 1950 and modify its provisions to reflect the realities of current times. This committee has taken representation on Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty from various sections of the society from both India and Nepal, and already submitted their final report in July of 2018. The Government of India is expected to renew the treaty in the later half of 2019. With or without TMC-GJM(BT) group making it an election issue.

The sudden realization that the India-Nepal Friendship treaty is the obstacle to the identity and statehood movement to be led by TMC is highly doubtful. If we remember, this is the same government which hounded Gorkhaland movement supporters for months and even killed 13 innocent protestors in broad daylight.

A new beginning for hill politics

Be it the first memorandum submitted by Hillmen Association in 1907, the violence of 1980s, or the recent 2017 agitation, the demand has been a separate administration and self-rule within India’s democratic union. The Anglo-Nepal treaty is an international treaty between two nations and are being discussed at the level. The Gorkha statehood movement is a demand for state protection for Indian Gorkhas who have been left out in the constitutional process. It is a desire for the recognition, respect, and integration of Gorkha peoples in the Indian nation-state

Now as GJM (Bimal faction) and GNLF have come together to fight the elections and carry the Gorkhaland issue forward, there is a chance that Gorkhaland will not be decimated from the central politics. If the primary objective is to push forward the Gorkhaland issue, then the goal should be to find the right person to do it. There is no point harping on ‘Bhoomiputra’ where there is no ‘Bhoomi’ in the first place.

To have one Gorkhaland supporting MP in the Lot Sabha is to have a voice in the parliament. With the coming together of the two parties, the TMC led alliance is startled. Mainstream media is already abuzz with digging out the violent history and personal differences of leaders to create a rift. In coming days, there could be more incidents reported to fuel the differences of the past.

As voters, we can only hope that GJM and GNLF remain true to the cause because it is Gorkhaland issue had brought them to the position they are today. They must realize that the core issue for which they have fought is much bigger than the rewards of local politics.

For the voters, we must realize that five years is a long time, long enough for one generation of kids to forget about the issue. The solution might take time, but voting the right candidate is the only way we have to keep our issue alive in political discourse in the center. To lose that voice for 5 years will take us back further.

Leaders and parties are free to campaign and promise anything as long as we know what we want.

[Originally Posted here https://thedarjeelingchronicle.com/darjeeling-elections-bhoomiputra-issue/]

What Gorkha Youth Thinks

9:14 AM
Writes: Dibya Chhetri

Gorkhaland has again become the most popular topic for discussion with the upcoming Elections in April. At every corner, you can hear people discussing whose fault was it the last time and who is to be blamed. Having failed so many times, we have even stopped learning lessons from the past mistakes. We always find an excuse to blame someone and continue repeating the same mistakes time and again.

However we may want to believe, it has always been our lack of unity and integrity that is to blame.  It is us who split out because of petty differences and aspirations compromising the larger cause of the community. The sacrifices of the martyrs who died believing in Gorkhaland have been reduced to mere stories today. Blaming ‘THEM’ has become our culture today simply because it is easy. ’THEY did this to US’ is easier than saying ‘WE did it ourselves and rectify our actions.

Our refusal to introspect our actions have made it difficult for us to learn from the mistakes and take corrective measures. I certainly don’t believe that only protests and shutdowns Darjeeling or Delhi should be the first and easy alternative for us use. What we lack is honest people to represent our voice at all levels, a vision for the youth, and a willingness to change for better.


Let us look around us for a while, the youths are leaving the place for a better life outside in bigger cities. Hundreds others are neck-deep in alcohol and drug addiction. Those who want to work, don’t have the knowledge or resources to start something. With such situation at home, the only option we have left is to work in service of others. Perhaps we are happy doing the *ji saabji* and even used to it now. Of course, we sometimes get sentimental and cry victim when something unfortunate happens; but happy to narrate our glorious history when all other excuses fail.

Dear Gorkhas ,
Make sure people will know you by your present action and not by your history .
Be the sun that shines everywhere
Be it education, entertainment, sports, or politics
Business or social services
From dash to dash


Via thedarjeelingchronicle.com


Want to join Mamata Banerjee for the prosperity of Darjeeling - Pawan Chamling

11:30 AM
Chamling backs Didi on hills

Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling on Monday iterated his backing for Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on her handling of the situation in the Darjeeling hills where the Gorkhaland agitation had resulted in the three months-long shutdown in the middle of last year.

Interacting with a visiting team of journalists from Calcutta here, Chamling praised Mamata as a great leader who enjoys his complete support.

"The chief minister said he supports whatever Mamata is doing in the Darjeeling hills since she is a great leader of a big state. He also said that he was for the development of both Bengal and Sikkim," said a member of the visiting team.

On the Doklam standoff, Chamling is understood have told the team that he came to know about it through the media and neither the Union government nor the Indian Army kept had him in the loop.

He spoke about the four per cent increase in forest cover of Sikkim and called for extending the ban on the use of plastic throughout India.

The Sikkim chief minister, according to the senior journalist, also iterated his demand for the granting of peace bonus to the Himalayan state for its impeccable record in maintaining law and order. "He demanded Rs 1,000 crore as peace bonus, citing the absence of insurgency, hostility and violence on the basis of caste, creed and religion during his tenure," said the journalist.


Sikkim has been demanding peace bonus for a long time now, but the Centre has remained mute to it. Mizoram was the first state to be given peace bonus way back in 2000 for being the most peaceful state in the otherwise trouble-torn north-east.


Centre kept us in dark on Doklam: Chamling
Shiv Sahay Singh

GANGTOK, AUGUST 20, 2018

Says people in Sikkim are now living in fear of a war

Observing that the people of Sikkim are “living in fear” because of the stand-off in Doklam between India and China, Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling on Monday said the Centre had kept the border State in the dark on the issue.
Pawan Chamling with Mamata Banerjee - a file photo

“Nobody has consulted us, neither the Centre nor the Army has told us anything about the situation. Whatever we get to know about Doklam is from newspaper reports,” Mr. Chamling told a group of journalists from the Kolkata Press Club.
“Here in Sikkim, we live with the Doklam issue. There is a fear psychosis among the people. We are afraid of the situation,” Mr. Chamling said.

He said the people feared a war with China, and referred to Kupup, the last inhabited village in Sikkim, about 30 km from Doklam.

“We want good relations between India and China. The State government and the people of Sikkim have shown their love for the country and have worked for the interest of India,” he said. On a solution to the issue, he said the Centre knew best.

Mr. Chamling said he had tried to shield the State from external disturbances, whether from Maoism in Nepal or the Gorkhaland agitation in Darjeeling. He said he wanted peace in Darjeeling, and supported the stand of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“We want to join Mamata Banerjee and contribute to the prosperity of Darjeeling,”. In 2017, the West Bengal government had accused Sikkim of giving shelter to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung..


Via The Hindu


The First Indian Gorkha Ambassador - Nina Tshering La

2:05 PM
ACHIEVEMENT - PROUD GORKHA

Nina Tshering La – 1st Indian Ambassador From Darjeeling Gorkha Community
Smt Nina Tshering La was appointed as the Ambassador of India to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa, on 10th of July 2018. She is the first Indian Ambassador to be appointed from the Darjeeling Gorkha community.
Nina Tshering La
Nina Tshering La – 1st Indian Ambassador From Darjeeling Gorkha Community

Being the proud daughter of “Fire Brigade ko Saila Baba and Saili Aama”., Smt Nina is the second of six siblings. Her father worked in the Darjeeling Fire Brigade. He passed away in 2000. Her mother, who lives in Delhi is a proud mother today.

Smt Nina schooled in Loreto Convent Darjeeling and completed her Master’s degree in the French language from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She is married to Shri Rinzeen La, who is also from Darjeeling, studied in Goethals Kurseong and holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Mr La gave up his promising career in Air India to support and accompany his wife. They have a 25-year-old son who after completing his MBA is working in Hyderabad.

Nina grew up in a little hamlet called Haridass Hatta below Loreto Convent School, in the love and care of her maternal family comprising St. Teresa School’s Dhansari Gurama who passed away recently and Shri Sisir Dewan Sir of Takdah Cantonment and Kamal Kumar Gurung of Himalayan travels, who today is more than a brother to her.

Smt Nina Tshering La presented her credential letters to the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on 11th August and formally took up charge as Ambassador of India to the DRC.

We are proud of Smt. Nina beyond measures and share the happiness in Congratulating her with all of you. Our daughters have always sprinted ahead in the front line of our community and broken many barriers, while creating many moments of great pride and honour for us. Smt. Nina has brought us one such moment which shall remain with us and inspire more of our daughters and also sons to achieve greater things in life.

Via TheDC

Rs.172 - Price of blood, sweat and life of a Tea garden worker in Gorkhaland!

12:28 PM
‘All wealth is the product of labor’- John Locke 

Tea plantations of Darjeeling, Dooars and Terai encompass the two extremes of human existence, the unimaginable opulence of Tea garden owners and the abject impoverishment of workers. Behind the idyllic hills, the scenic gardens, the “romance of the two leaves and a bud”, and the “smiling faces” of the workers, what remains carefully hidden is the ugly truth of sub-human wages, more than a thousand starvation deaths, and seething anger.
Tea workers in Gorkhaland

The ongoing wage negotiations for tea gardens in the Hills, Dooars & Terai has yet again brought to fore what the West Bengal government and the industry wishes to brush under the carpet. It is another manifestation of the complicity of the state in depriving the workers of their basic minimum level of sustenance. Darjeeling tea derived its value (even has its own Geographical Indication-GI mark) from its qualitative excellence and high exportability. Darjeeling, Dooars and Tarai produces one of finest and most sought after tea in the international market (Iran, Japan, UK, Russia, UAE). Such is the demand for Darjeeling tea that in the year 2016 the finest quality of Darjeeling tea was sold at Rs 1.12 lakh per kg. Tea industry makes valuable contribution to both Central and State Government coffers by way of different Central and State taxes. The West Bengal State enjoys approximately 1500 crores of revenue generated from tea gardens annually along with the revenue from tea tourism, forest, hydel project etc. However, the contributions of the tea garden workers have been rewarded by hardship, struggle, denial of basic rights, untimely medical facilities, forced lockdown of tea gardens and starvation deaths. This perennial appalling condition has compelled the workers of 273 tea gardens to hit the streets and raise their voice for higher wages. Examining the closest history, the wage of workers’ was Rs.45 per day in 2001, Rs. 90 per day in 2010 and Rs.95 per day in 2011. After repeated pressure from workers trade unions, it was increased to Rs 132.50 in 2016. In February 2018, the wage was decided upon as Rs 150/day. However, following the disagreements and protests from the tea gardens workers trade unions, the planters agreed to increase the wage only to Rs 172 per day on 5th August 2018, which the workers have out rightly rejected.

How low is the wage rate in tea gardens?
First, workers of Darjeeling, Dooars, Tarai and Assam are paid the lowest wage among all tea plantations located in India. Eg. Tamil Nadu pays Rs. 303, Karnataka pays Rs 317 while Kerala pays Rs. 600 per day. Ironically tea produced from these locations are not much demanded in international market and fetches low price, even then the tea garden owners are able to pay decent wages more than that of Darjeeling. Secondly, wages of tea garden workers of Darjeeling, Dooars and Tarai is even lower than the government mandated minimum wages in similar occupations in West Bengal. The recently proposed wage rate by the planters and state government for the tea garden workers of Darjeeling, Dooars and Terai is Rs 172, which is even lower than minimum wage paid in Cinchona plantation located in the same region (Rs. 211), in Beedi leaf plucking (Rs. 255), in Agriculture (Rs 278). Thirdly, the money wage was Rs 90 in 2010 and it was proposed to be hiked to Rs 172 on 5th August, 2018. However, if we take into account the rising living expenses (due to rising prices over time-inflation), the real wage (what money wage is able to buy in terms of goods and services) hike is miniscule in terms of purchasing power. For e.g. the goods and services, which could be purchased using Rs. 90 in 2010, will cost Rs.141 in 2018. Even Rs.90 in 2010 was the lowest wage received by workers among workers in other industries during that time. This implies that workers until last year (Rs 132.5 in 2017) were not even getting wage, which could buy same amount of goods they used to buy with Rs. 90 in 2010. Similarly, Rs 172 of 2018 will only buy the same amount of goods what workers could have bought with Rs.109 in 2010. This means that the wage hike proposed by planters is very low if we take into account the rising daily expenses of tea garden workers. Workers are demanding Rs 239.82 as minimum wage, which is just equal to the purchasing power of Rs 152 of 2010. The minimum wage of Rs 239.82 is not even 40% of minimum wage of tea garden workers in Kerala. In an era where LPG refilling costs around Rs 1000, the tea garden workers are bound to survive on a monthly average income of Rs 5000. Since, tea garden is the main source of income for the families, it is beyond impossible to maintain a decent livelihood with such a minimum wage leading intergenerational poverty trap. Contrary to this deplorable condition of workers, the CEO of a tea company (Goodricke Group Limited, Annual Report, 2017-18) has a salary scale of Rs. 4-7 lakhs per month with additional Rs. 50,000 special allowance per month.
What do various reports say? Nearly 1500 tea plantation workers of Dooars and Terai have died due to starvation in the last ten years. According to the state government’s Labour Department Survey (2013) report, nearly Rs 47 crore rupees of provident fund was unpaid to workers in 75 tea gardens in 2013. Around 80% of the gardens had no medical staff and most of the gardens had no access to basic health facilities. The International Labour Organisation in its 2005 report clearly states that the Tea Board, which is the regulating authority of the Tea Industry, has failed to fulfill its stipulated function. They have continuously ignored wage and provident fund defaults of tea gardens, while portraying this crisis only as a marketing mismanagement. The ILO report also suspects that there is collusion between the planters and the State, which is highlighted by the non-implementation of the Tea Act, 1953. Studies show that 70% of the people of the closed tea gardens suffer from chronic energy deficiency III stage. The scale of deprivation and dispossession of livelihoods is such that the workers are forced to languish till they die of hunger and malnutrition. The Supreme Court’s order (dated 06.08.10) categorically asked the Government of India to carry out its statutory duty under Tea Act 1953. This allows the central government to take over the management/control of sick tea gardens (under section 16 B/D/E of the Act) and take steps thereafter to ensure that the interest of the workers are well protected and dues are all paid in time but such clauses never get invoked to protect the interest of the workers. Such low wages and exploitative conditions have resulted in large migration of workers from the tea estate. Human trafficking is also very rampant in the region. A report of a joint study by Unicef, Save the Children and Burdwan University (in 2010) estimates around 3,500 minors alone were trafficked from 12 gardens of Dooars alone.

We reject the recent offers by the Planters and Government of abysmally low wage hike from Rs.150 to Rs. 172.
We demand: 1. Declare and implement decent Minimum Wage for tea Plantation workers equivalent to that of state of Kerala 2. Grant legal ownership of land rights to workers 3. Reopen closed and abandoned tea estates immediately 4. Casual labour in tea gardens should be regularised as soon as possible 5. Backlog of unpaid provident fund and gratuity should be cleared immediately. We salute and stand in solidarity with the uncompromising struggle of workers for their rightful demand. Any attempt to break the unity of the workers or dilute the demands or betray the struggle must be resisted at all cost.

Gorkha Students, JNU Issued on 13/08/18

Forest Rights Activist Transferred - Says "Its Vendetta Politics"

2:51 PM

Residents of nearly 24 odd forest villages that fall under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration have been demanding the implementation of the Forest Rights Act 2006 before the Sevoke-Rangpo rail project kicks off. A major portion of the railway tracks between Sevoke, around 30 km away from Siliguri, to Rangpo in Sikkim is a part of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts that are under the GTA and will cut through several forest villages and hamlets under the GTA areas.

Fighting for their rights is Himalaya Forest Village Organisation (HFVO) which comprises of members from forest villagers in the GTA region.

HFVO Secretary Mr. Lila Kumar Gurung who is a teacher at the local Kumai High School has now been transferred to Rimbick [You can check the transfer order here: https://khabarmagazine.com/archives/21396]. He claims this is a vendetta, for taking a stand in favour of the forest dwellers and asking the government to provide land rights to forest dwellers under the Forest Rights Act 2006.

The situation in the hills and terai is complicated because Panchayat elections haven't been held here since 2005. In the absence of Gram Sabhas, which can give a go-ahead to such projects, the Union ministry of tribal affairs had given elected GTA members the right to act as panchayat members. However, since GTA stands dissolved, the Gram Sabha - comprising of all the villagers naturally have the latitude to issue or deny such a no-objection certificate.

Hundreds of residents of forest villages in Kalimpong and Darjeeling, which constitute the Gram Sabhas as per the Recognition of the Forest Rights Act 2006, have started adopting resolutions, demanding conversion of forest villages into revenue villages to ensure their rights, before they issue the no-objection certificate.

The villagers have stated that they would not allow the authorities concerned to begin construction of the railway project without the NOC from each Gram Sabha. They further claimed that authorities cannot carry out work there without the NOC from the Gram Sabha, and that the GTA does not have the right to issue the NOC to the railway authorities for the forest land.

There are no three-tier elected bodies in the Hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong as rural polls have not been held there for the past 18 years due to technical and legal matters which have yet to be resolved. As a result, there are no proper records of the Gram Sabha comprising at least 165 forest villages.

According to sources, 24 of the 165 forest villages will be affected by the tunnel to be dug for the railway project.

“When the administration has converted forest villages into revenue villages in Alipurduar and other districts for other projects, no initiative was taken to ensure forest rights for us in Darjeeling and Kalimpong district,” said Mr. Lila Kumar Gurung recently, following GTA Board of Administrator Chairman Binay Tamang's extreme reaction to him and HFVO in Kalimpong.

Mr. Gurung has further claimed that a conspiracy was being hatched to deprive the forest villagers of their rights. “We had met the then GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung and discussed the matter. Mr. Gurung had taken a decision in our favour, and it was decided that all the 165 villages would be converted into revenue villages.

Later, as Binoy Tamang was appointed as the GTA chairman, we also approached him in writing. But we came to know all of a sudden that he will issue the NOC to the railway authorities,” he further claimed.

Forest villagers from Rangpo, Kinley, Melli, Teesta, Rambhi and some others also claimed that they had written to chief minister Mamata Banerjee, demanding that forest villagers’ rights be ensured before implementing the Sevoke-Rango railway link project.

A resident of Rangpo village in Kalimpong area, Smaran Rai, said: “Villagers are worried about their future following continuous threats from the administration during a survey on the railway project.

Nobody knows what is in store for them, rehabilitation and alternative livelihood.” “Residents living in the small stretch (of the project) that falls in Sikkim are not facing such problems. The Sikkim government has already compensated them properly,” Mr. Rai said.

A rights activist Soumitra Ghosh said the present situation in the Hills is “not suitable” for some persons to assemble in a particular place and demand their fundamental right.

“Where will the forest villages go, seeking justice? Authorities have not yet started talking to villagers, when no work can be carried out without the NOC from the Gram Sabha as per a circular of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests under the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980, ensuring compliance of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006,” he said.

Speaking against the transfer, Mr. Neeraj Zimba of GNLF said, "This transfer order of Sri. Lila Kumar Gurung, General Secretary, Himalayan Forest Villager's Organisation from Kumai High School to Rimbick High School is part of Binay Tamang's "Political Deal(ing)" as openly declared by him recently at public meetings in Kurseong, Kalimpong and Bijanbari respectively. For the first time in the history of Gorkha Politics we have ever seen a Nominated Stooge openly declare from a public platform that he will politically victimise all those who doesn't support him and endorse his views. Mockery of Democratic values and free speech.फरेस्ट बनबस्तिको अधिकारको कुरा गर्दा आज लिला गुरुङलाई भिक्टिमाइज ट्रास्फर गरिएको छ। के यो नै हो गणतन्त्र?

All Should Protest Against this as this is not just a routine exercise or a mutual transfer but political victimization of a person who chose to speak truth to the power - a right which has been given rightly by the Constitution." [sic]

Mr. Lila Kumar Gurung in the meanwhile seems to be unflustered with the transfer order and said, "I am a teacher - my primary duty is to teach and I will do that anywhere. They must assume by transferring me to Rimbick they will weaken the movement, but they are wrong. The movement will only grow stronger. Rimbick is comprised of many forest villages that are also deprived, I look forward to working with those villages and organize them to seek inclusion into FRA 2006 at the earliest".

Mamata Banerjee to lay foundation of first state university in Darjeeling - Binay Tamang

6:37 PM

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Jul 14, 2018, Darjeeling: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee will lay the foundation of a state university in Darjeeling next month, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration chief Binay Tamang said on Friday.

Tamang made the announcement at a GTA event to mark the 204th birth anniversary of Nepali poet Bhanubhakta Acharya here and said the varsity would be located at Mungpoo, 30km from Darjeeling town. The choice of Mungpoo has special significance: it is the place where Rabindranath Tagore stayed in the hills. It is now home to cinchona plantations.

"Chief minister Mamata Banerjee spoke to me (on Thursday). She told us she would lay the foundation of the state university in Mungpoo when she visits the hills next month," Tamang said on Friday.

The demand for a separate university has been an old one. The Tamang-led Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has long sought one. "The central university never came through but we are confident the state university will be functional from 2020," Tamang said.

EOI: Gorkhaland Territorial Adminstration chairman Binoy Tamang on Friday on the occasion of the Bhanubhakta Puruskar programme revealed the decision of the West Bengal government to set up a state university in Mungpo in Darjeeling.
Mungpo, incidentally, is full of memories of Rabindranath Tagore.
Tamang said he had a discussion with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the sidelines of the Tea Advisory Council (TAC) meeting at Uttarkanya in Siliguri on Thursday with the demand that was first raised by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha GJM after its formation in 2007. “Today is not the right forum, but still I would like to share good news with the people of the hills. I had a meeting with the Bengal CM on Thursday and raised the issue of a Central university for the hills, which has been a long standing demand. Ten years have gone but those who had raised it (in reference to his predecessor Bimal Gurung)
failed to achieve anything. But today I would like to announce that within a month the Chief Minister will be in the hills to lay the foundation stone for a state university in Mungpo,” Tamang said.
After the 104-day agitation and strike were withdrawn in September 27, 2017, the Bengal Chief Minister during a state function had announced that a state university would be established in the hills. She had directed the district administration to identify the land where the university would come up. “The issue of land was taken up during review meetings with the state government, district administration and the GTA. The Darjeeling district administration had identified a land in Mungpo where the state university will be set-up,” Tamang said in the presence of the Darjeeling district magistrate.
GJM under Gurung had raised, among other demands, the issue of establishing a Central
university in the hills with the BJP-led Central government. GJM had also requested Darjeeling M.P. Jaswant Singh (in 2009) and S.S. Ahluwalia(2014) to take up the issue with the BJP top brass and the Central government but nothing concrete has materialized yet.
For higher education, students from the hills students have either to go to the North Bengal University  in Siliguri or to other cities incurring additional expenses and inconveniences to parents.

Via Telegraph

Two Darjeeling Films Made it to Toronto Nepali Film Festival (TNFF)

4:02 PM

Two Darjeeling Films Made it to Toronto Nepali Film Festival (TNFF)

Two films from Darjeeling were selected for the 9th Annual Toronto Nepali Film Festival.

The two films, one short fiction and the other documentary, titled "Jhajalko" and "Finding Life in Monochrome" are directed by Wangyal Sherpa.

"Jhajalko" narrates the story of a single mother trying to raise her son on her own after the death of her husband, whereas "Finding Life in Monochrome" is a documentary which depicts the stories of children living in Edith Wilkins, NGO, Darjeeling.

These two films are selected in top 12 films to be screened in this year's festival. For both the films, Anup Aadin Das is the DOP(Director of Photography). Also the above films are the only selection from India.

Keep up the good work Wangyal... keep the Gorkha flag flying !!

Via TheDC

Darjeeling, Kalimpong to benefit from 'Nijo Griho Nijo Bhumi Prokolpo'

7:34 AM

Darjeeling: Now, Darjeeling and Kalimpong will finally benefit from "Nijo Griho Nijo Bhumi Prokolpo" of the Bengal government.

The scheme is being routed through the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration in the Hills. The "Nijo Griho Nijo Bhumi Prokolpo" was launched on October 18, 2011 by the Chief Minister of Bengal, whereby 5 decimal of land is provided to the homeless, landless beneficiaries.

"This scheme along with the rest of Bengal was earlier available in the GTA area. Initially 25% of the applicants benefitted from the scheme. However, the scheme was stopped under the GTA. We have decided to reintroduce the scheme again through the GTA and have been given a go ahead by the State Government," stated Binay Tamang, Chairman, GTA.

In a meeting on May 14, the GTA and state government officials decided to reintroduce this scheme in the Hills. A follow up meeting was held at the GTA Chairman's office in Darjeeling on Friday attended by Land reform Officers, Block Officers and GTA officials.

"Application made earlier will also be processed along with fresh ones. Earlier there was hardly any promotion of the scheme in the Hills, hardly anyone knew about the scheme. This time, we will be giving advertisements in newspapers and TV channels so that people come to know about the scheme and the deserving ones get the benefit," added Tamang.

Applicants can submit applications in Block Offices, Block Land and Land Reforms Office and Gram Panchayat offices as per their convenience.

Committees have been constituted in each of the 8 blocks comprising Block Development Officer, Block Land and Land Reforms Officer and a member of the Board of Administrators, GTA.

Applications for the Kalimpong 1, Kurseong, Mirik, Sukhiapokhari, Rungli Rungliot and Darjeeling - Poolbazar Block will be received from June 4 to June 9. For Kalimpong 2 block, it will be from June 11 to 16 and for Gorubathan block from June 18 to 23.

The applications will be scrutinised by the committee formed in each block and then will be recommended by the Sub Divisional Land and Land Reforms Officer to the GTA. The GTA will then forward the list to the state following which land documents will be handed over by the state government.

When questioned on the fate of tea garden workers, who have been demanding documents since long, Tamang stated: "Tea gardens are leased land of the State Government. The workers can apply. The concerned departments and the state government will then decide," added Tamang.

[Via: Millennium Post]

पर्जा-पट्टा दिलाउन 3 सदस्यीय कमिटी गठन: ४ जुलाईदेखि आवेदन स्वीकार गरिने।

7:42 AM
पर्जा-पट्टा दिलाउन 3 सदस्यीय कमिटी गठन:
४ जुलाईदेखि पर्जा-पट्टाको आवेदन स्वीकार गरिने।

दार्जीलिङ,१४ अगस्त।

सरकारी जमीनभित्र बसोबासो गर्दै आइरहेको भएतापनि हालसम्म पर्जापट्टा नभएका जीटीएक्षेत्रका वासिन्दाहरूको निम्ति निज गृह, निज भूमि प्रकल्पअन्तर्गत पर्जापट्टा दिलाउने दिशामा गोर्खा जनमुक्ति नारी मोर्चा निक्कै अघाड़ि बड़िसकेको छ। उक्त प्रकल्पमार्फत जीटीएक्षेत्रका वासिन्दाहरूलाई पर्जा-पट्टा  प्रदान गर्नको आधिकारीक तौरमा 3 सदस्यीय कमिटी गठन गरिएको छ भने आगामी 4 जूनदेखि पर्जापट्टाको निम्ति आवेदनहरू पनि स्वीकार गरिने भएको छ।

आज लालकोठीमा पश्चिम बगांल भूमि एवं भूमि सुधार विभागका शीर्षस्थ अधिकारीहरू अनि जीटीएका मुख्य सचिव सुब्रत विश्वास, जीटीए अध्यक्ष विनय तामाङलगायत गोर्खा जनमुक्ति नारी मोर्चाका प्रतिनिधिहरूमाझ एक बैठक बसिएको थियो भने सोही बैठकपछि उक्त निर्णय लिइएको नारी मोर्चा संयोजिका छिरीङ दाहालले जनाएकी छिन्।

दाहालले बताएअनुसार, गत 7 तारीखको दिन जीटीए अध्यक्ष विनय तामाङलाई नारी मोर्चाले यस प्रकल्पबारे अवगत चड़ाउँदै यस विषयमा आवश्यक पहल गर्नुको निम्ति अर्जी चड़ाएको थियो भने जीटीए अध्यक्षले तुरून्तै यसमाथि पहल शुरू गर्नुपर्ने जनाउँदै आजको बैठक आयोजन गरेको थियो। यसैकारण आज 2.30 बजी लालकोठीमा जीटीए एवं भूमि एवं भूमि सुधार विभागका अधिकारीहरूनाझ मा एउटा आधिकारीक बैठक भयो।

आजको उक्त बैठक अति नै सकरात्मक एवं फलदायक बनेको बताउँदै नारी मोर्चा संयोजिका छिरीङ दाहालले अब चाड़ै जीटीएक्षेत्रवासीहरूले आफ्नो जमीनको मालिकाना अधिकार पाउने दावी गरेकी छिन्।

हाम्रो मान्छेहरू सरकारी जमीनमा धेरै बर्षदेखि बसिरहेका छन्। तर पर्जा-पट्टा बिना उक्त जमीन मेरो हो भन्नु हाम्रो गलत धारणा हो। आफ्नो जमीनको आफै मालिक नभइञ्जेल हामी यहाँ हामी सुरक्षित बन्न सक्दैनौं।आफ्नै जग्गामा हामी भूमिहीन भएर संकटजनक स्थितिमा बाँचिरहेका थियौं। अब त्यो संकट हटिरहेको छ।5 डेसिमल सही तर हाम्रा मानिसहरूले आफ्नो पर्जा-पट्टा प्राप्त गर्नेछन्। यही वर्षभित्रमा हाम्रो मानिसहरूको पर्जा-पट्टा दिलाउन हामी प्रतिवद्ध छौं, पत्रकारहरूलाई सम्बोधन गर्दै दाहालले भनिन्।

उल्लेख्य, 2011 सालमा पश्चिम बगांल सरकारले निज भूमि निज गृह प्रकल्प शुरू गरेका थिए जसअन्तर्गत भूमिहीन मानिसहरूलाई प्रतिव्यक्ति 5 डेसिमल सरकारी जमीनको पर्जा-पट्टा प्रदान गरिने प्रावधान रहेको छ भने हालसम्म दार्जीलिङ पहाड़का कतिपय क्षेत्रहरूमा उक्त प्रकल्पको निम्ति प्रक्रिया शुरू गरिएको भएतापनि सम्पूर्ण जीटीएक्षेत्रभरि नै उक्त प्रकल्प लागु गर्नुपर्ने माग नारी मोर्चाले चर्काइरहेका छन्।

छिरीङ दाहाले बताएअनुसार, पर्जा-पट्टाको प्रक्रिया शुरू गर्नको निम्ति अब जीटीएक्षेत्रका कूल 8 वटा ब्लकमा नै 3 सदस्यीय कमिटी बनाइनेछ। उक्त तीन सदस्यीय कमिटीमा बीएलएलआरओ, बीडीओ अनि एकजना बीओए सदस्य रहनेछन्। प्रत्येक ब्लकमा आगामी 4 जूनदेखि उक्त प्रकल्पका आवेदनहरू शुरू गरिनेछ भने आधिकारीकरूमा आवेदन फारम वितरण गरिनेछ। सरकारी जमीन चाहे त्यो चियाकमान होस् या अन्य कुनै पनि सरकारी जमीनमा बसोबासो गर्ने भूमिहीनहरूले आवेदन बुझाउनसक्नेछन्। 4 जून पछि 3 साताभित्रमा सबै आवेदनहरू लिइसक्नेछ भने त्यसपछि जाँचकार्य गरेर बीएलएलआरओद्वारा जीटीए अध्यक्षलाई बुझाउनेछन्। जीटीए अध्यक्षको अनुमोदनपछि त्यसपछि जिल्ला प्रशासनले पर्जा-पट्टाको प्रक्रिया अघि बड़ाउनेछ।

आगामी 18 मईको दिन जीटीए अध्यक्षले उक्त तीन सदस्यीय कमिटीका सदस्यहरूसित बैठक बसी आवश्यक निर्देश एवं चर्चा-परिचर्चा गर्ने पनि छिरीङ दाहालले जनाएकी छिन्।

हरेक जनाले रूचि देखाएर यस प्रक्रियालाई सफल बनाउन व्यक्तिगतरूपमा पनि सहभागी बनिदिने पनि उनले सबैलाई आह्वान गरेकी छिन् भने नारी मोर्चाले पनि पूर्ण तत्परताको साथमा यस कार्यको निम्ति खट्ने पनि उनको भनाइ छ।

मिरिक नगरपालिकामा भूमिहीनहरूलाई लीज दिने प्रक्रिया चलिरहेको उल्लेख गर्दै दार्जीलिङ, खऱसाङ अनि कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाहरूले पनि चाड़ै यो प्रक्रिया शुरू गर्नुपर्ने पनि उनले माग गरिन् भने वनवासीहरूलाई पर्जा-पट्टा प्रदान गरिनुपर्ने विषयमा आजको सभामा चर्चा भएको उनको भनाइ छ। वनवासीहरूलाई पर्जा-पट्टाको मुद्दा हालमा जीटीएको पहलमा नै वन मन्त्रालयमा पुगेको र विचाराधीन अवस्थामा रहेको जीटीए अध्यक्षले बताएको दाहालले बताइन्। कानूनमुताविक वनवासीहरूलाई पट्टा दिनुको निम्ति ग्राम पञ्चायत हुन आवश्यक रहेको छ तर दागोपापकै कालमा 2005 सालदेखि  पहाड़मा पञ्चायत चुनाउ नभएको गर्दा वनवासीहरूलाई पट्टा प्रदान गर्न समस्या भइरहेको छ तथापि जीटीएको पक्षबाट सम्बन्धित क्षेत्रहरूका विधायकहरूलाई सदस्य बनाएर वनवासीहरूको पर्जा-पट्टा प्रदान गरिनुपर्ने माग जीटीएले उठाइरहेको र यही वर्षभित्रमा 168 वटै वनबस्तीहरूलाई पर्जा-पट्टा दिलाएरै छोड़्ने आजको सभामा जीटीए अध्यक्ष विनय तामाङले प्रतिवद्धता जाहेर गरेको पनि छिरीङ दाहालले बताएकी छिन्।

साभार:- प्रतिबिम्ब न्युज

BJP Darjeeling MP lures Gorkhas with schedule Tribe bait

8:40 PM
Darjeeling: BJP MP S.S. Ahluwalia has written to the Union tribal ministry pressing for inclusion of 11 Gorkha communities in the Schedule Tribal list, the move coinciding with the rural polls in the Bengal.
The letter written by Ahluwalia is dated April 25, 2018, but it was posted by Gorkha leader Roshan Giri on social media on Tuesday. The BJP had used the tribal card effectively in earlier elections.
The Darjeeling MP has justified his decision to write the letter now saying the term of the committee constituted by the Union tribal ministry to look into the demand ends in May this year.

"I request you to use your influence to take a decision on the 11 communities and direct constitutional amendment to include these communities in the ST list," Ahluwalia's letter to Jual Oram in Hindnd Himalachal Pradesh had already recommended the inclusion of the 11 Gorkha communities in the ST list.
The 11 communities demanding tribal status are Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunuwar, Thami, Yakka (Dewan) and Dhimal.
The demand has popular support among members of the 11 communities who constitutes nearly 50 percent of the Gorkha population.
Although the BJP has been dangling the tribal card before the Gorkhas, actual progress has been slow.
Even though Ahluwalia's letter states that the committee's tenure will end in May this year, observers are sceptical given past records. "The letter has surfaced in public domain when Bengal is going for rural polls. Gorkhas constitute a sizeable population in the Dooars. The timing raises eyebrows," said an observer.
Bengal, Sikkim and Himalachal Pradesh had already recommended the inclusion of the 11 Gorkha communities in the ST list

NCW SUBMITS REPORT ON ATROCITIES AGAINST WOMEN IN DARJEELING HILLS

9:11 PM
NCW SUBMITS REPORT ON ATROCITIES AGAINST WOMEN IN DARJEELING HILLS TO HOME MINISTRY

The National Commission for Women (NCW), submitted a report on atrocities against women during the Gorkhaland agitation in Darjeeling Hills, to Home Minister Rajnath Singh today, the commission highlighted many cases of atrocities committed by the police and noted that a large number of innocent civilians including women were implicated in various cases and had been languishing in jails or out on bail.
NCW SUBMITS REPORT ON ATROCITIES AGAINST WOMEN IN DARJEELING HILLS TO HOME MINISTRY

According to an official statement, the commission noted that notices were being issued to many civilians for striking down their names from the electoral roll.

The women's panel has recommended that immediate medical and psycho-social counselling/intervention should be provided to the victims and proper inquiry should be conducted in cases where women were implicated as criminals and languishing in jails or have to visit courts frequently because of a large number of cases against them.

Officials against whom departmental inquiries are pending should be expedited, it stated.

"The issue of arbitrary removing of names of civilians from the electoral roll needs to be brought to the notice of the Election Commission," it said.

The NCW, in its statement, also mentioned that the administration was hostile and non-supportive of the inquiry and most of the officials were either on leave or refused to meet its inquiry committee, while most of the victims were threatened not to interact with the team.

[Via: OutlookIndia]

पहाडमा रोहिङ्या अनि गोर्खा जाती

9:52 PM

थुलुङ भाई

अहिले घरी सामाजिक संजालहरुमा कतिथ रुपले रोहिङ्या मुसलमान पहाडँ(कालेबुङ) भित्र पसेको भिडियो चर्चाको बिषय बनेको छ।

यदि साच्चै नै ती सबै ब्यक्तिहरु रोहिङ्या मुसलमानहरु हुन भने यो समग्र पहाडँ अनि गोर्खा जातीको निम्ति मात्रै नभएर देशको सुरक्षा ब्यवस्था माथी नै हमला हो।के भिडियोमा देखिएको ब्यक्तिहरु भारतीय  मुसलमान हुन अथवा पहाडँ घुम्न आएका साधारण पर्यटकहरु मात्र हुन?कहाँ छन् उनीहरु अहिले? के गर्दैछन्?

पुलिस प्रशासन अनि गोर्खाल्यान्ड क्षेत्रीय प्रशासनका अधिकारीहरुले झट्ट यो बिषय माथी ध्यानसंग छानबिन गरि सत्यता के हो जनता सामु ल्याउन नितान्त आवश्यक छ।कारण यस्ता घटनाहरुले पहाडँमा फेरि अशान्ति शृजना गर्न सक्छ भन्न सकिन्दैन। गोर्खाल्याण्ड क्षेत्रीय प्रशासनको प्रवेस द्वार सुकुना देखि केही मिनेट टाडो सालबाढीमा पनि बिगत दिनहरु भन्दा धेरै संख्यामा अवैध बंगलादेशीहरुको प्रवेस भएको कुरा प्रकाशमा आएको छ अनि उनिहरुले हेर्दाहेर्दै एउटा नयाँ गाउँ नै बनाएको लेखक स्वयं लाई अनुभव छ।तब प्रश्न उठँछ यहा,के यस्ता घटनाहरु प्रशासनको जानकारी बिना घटन सक्छ?के राज्यको खुफिया विभागलाई यस बारे जानकारी हुदैन? प्रश्न गम्भीर छ।अनि त्यो भन्दा गम्भीर कुरो यस्ता कुराहरु प्रकासमा आएपनी प्रशासन किन मौन? राज्य सरकार होस अथवा केन्द्र सरकार दुवैले यो बिसयमा चासो न राखेको झै देखिन्छ।

केन्द्र सरकारको एक रिपोर्ट अनुसार पश्चिम् बंगालमा मात्रै २ करोड अवैध बंगलादेशीहरु बसोबास गर्छन्।
आसाम राज्य पनि अवैध बंगलादेशीहरुको समस्याले ग्रसित छ भने उडिस्सा पनि अछुतो छैन।सन १९७९ सालमा अल आसाम स्टुडेन्ट युनियनले अवैध बंगलादेशीको मुद्दा सरकार सम्मुख उठाएका थिए।तर सरकारले गम्भीरता पुर्वक लिएन,फलस्वरूप वर्तमान समयमा आएर केन्द्र सरकारलाई हस्ताक्षेप गर्न कर लाग्यो अनि असली भारतीय मुसलमान अनि अवैध बंगलादेशी छुट्टाउने प्रक्रिया आसाममा चलिरहेको छ।यी तीन राज्य मध्ये अवैध बंगलादेशीहरुको निम्ति पश्चिम् बंगाल राज्यमा प्रवेस गर्न सबैभन्दा सजिलो रहेको पनि बिगतका कतिपय भाइरल भिडियोहरु अनि घटनाहरुले स्पष्ट बुझाएको छ।

अन्तमा कालेबुङ शहर भित्र रोहिङ्या प्रवेश गरेको कतिथ घटनालाई कुनै राजनीतिकरण नगरी गम्भीरता पुर्वक छानबिन गरि सत्य कुरा उजागर गर्न अहिलेको परिवेशमा आवश्यक छ।

जय हिन्द जय गोर्खा

Aqui Thami's travelling library putting the spotlight on women’s books

1:19 PM

Meet Aqui Thami from Darjeeling, whose travelling library is putting the spotlight on women’s books

‘Sister Library’, founded by the artist and activist, is going to several cities and sparking conversations around the representation of women in literature.

Aqui Thami is an artist and activist from Darjeeling, currently based in Mumbai, who is known for work that brings together both of those worlds. She put up one hundred posters with the words, “A woman was harassed here,” or “You aren’t giving me a compliment. You’re giving me the creeps,” in places around Mumbai where she and people she knew had been harassed. She has been working in the Dharavi Art Room with the founder, Himanshu, since 2012 to provide women and children in the community with a place to express and heal themselves through art.

In Bombay Underground, they promote and publish zines – a low-cost artistic production that allows them to, in Thami’s words, “break the epistemological hierarchy.” One of her zines about periods featured women’s reflections and stories about menstruation. Her latest project is the Sister Library – a travelling library of one hundred books from Thami’s own book collection that focuses solely on women’s writing. The library will tour Mumbai, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Goa, and Cochin with accompanying talks and discussions. She spoke to Scroll.in about the role of libraries, the desire to share books and zines that took her a long time to find, and what a permanent collection of these works might look like. Excerpts from the interview:

I want to start by asking about your personal connection to libraries. Did you have access to libraries growing up? Can you tell us about a library experience that has been meaningful for you?

The project comes from an absence of spaces like these in my life. From longing to find books written by female authors at the roadside bookwallahs to fancier bookshops in the city – a variety of books, not just that token bestseller. Also, Sister Library is not a conventional library, it is an evolving and generative artwork that engages with the visual and reading culture of our times.

Underground Bookhouse (a bookshop-cum-library with books on art, culture and activism) was an experience like no other when it came to reading and writing. As an artist, activist and a scholar it was the only space that triangulated my interests. It was from this place of syncretism that I started to reflect on a possibility of a space just like that but one that celebrates women.

Is there a criteria besides female authorship for inclusion in the library? What would you say drives this curation?

It is a curated library of a hundred works by women writers, artists and zine makers. I have curated a mix of things that I really enjoyed. It came from a place of sharing. Having scouted numerous places in search of these works and knowing how difficult it is to procure them, I feel like it is only fair that I share them with everyone that thirsts for them like I did.

Is the role of a librarian a political one to you? You’re choosing to focus on women’s literature. When the size of the collection is still relatively small, every book or zine becomes a reading recommendation.

I wouldn’t call myself a librarian. Sadly, in our times libraries have become places of exclusion, not only in the sense of who might have access to these high walls and gates but also whose works are celebrated, cited and awarded as the most valid and credible.

Sister Library is more an act of reclaiming libraries – celebrating works that don’t find mention in the mainstream media and re-examining the idea of what a library could be. The fact that this project is an interactive work that will be travelling in all its DIY spirit and glory is a step towards redefining what a library could be.

At Sister Library, we will also be celebrating orality. Being an indigenous person, I feel a sense of restriction that writing has brought about amongst us. While we cannot ignore the importance of written text, I also look at it as a colonial legacy. Our libraries were our ancestors. Oral literatures were not just a cultural heritage but also a way of teaching language, rituals and knowledge.

I have over 1000 books in my collection but since it is a travelling library it limits me to a certain number. I have decided on 100.

The books featured on the project’s Instagram include a lot of non-fiction, graphic novels, zines, and poetry. Could you talk to us a little about why the library is drawn to those genres, what it gains from them?
It is curated mix of fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, zines and periodicals.

I am a zinester and have been drawn towards their straightforwardness. Content is the only thing that sells a zine. How nice the paper is, how great the print is are all secondary. Since these works are produced independently, they are so very refreshing, from their themes to deconstruction of language. Zines made by women talk about things that we never really get to read about anywhere else.

Non-fiction works of women are harder to find in my experience. Historical factuality from a woman’s perspective is not considered important, but to understand and reflect on where our world stands it is important that we read non-fiction. Reading nonfiction helps unlearn and deconstruct that internalised male gaze you know we all have after years of consuming male perspectives of everything.

And I do enjoy non-fiction as much as I enjoy fiction. But because women were historically denied epistemic validity when writing non-fiction, I was moved to reading more and more non-fiction which in turn enriched my work and life processes.

I can’t ignore the relationship between women’s movement and poetry. Poetry has been medicine to me at various points in my life. I wanted to share it with the visitors of Sister Library too.

The library is set to tour from the end of April to Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Goa, and Cochin with accompanying talks and discussions. Do you expect that the different personality of each of these places will affect how they interact with the library?
I cannot predict how each city will interact with the SL. I can only say that it will be constantly modified by its interaction with the people.

At the moment, the library draws from your personal book collection. If people are interested in the project and want to donate books written by women, how would they go about it?
All contributions are welcome. There have been zinesters sending their zines from all over the world, there have been authors wanting to send their books and there have been older feminists and activists who want to share books that drove them in the struggle that paved a way for us. It has been such a blessing.

At every venue, there will be a collection booth for interested people to drop their books. They could also ship books to this address in Mumbai: Art Room Foundation, Flat No 1, Shangri-La Apartments, Khandeshwari Mandir Marg, Mount Mary Steps, Bandra West, 400050.

The goal, I’ve heard you say in another interview, is to have a permanent collection if enough support and interest is generated by the tour. What would this permanent collection where people can borrow books look like?
I have dreamed of a feminist library, it’s true. It will be everything the travelling Sister Library is but in a permanent space. Open to people to come and read, as well as become members and borrow books. It will be a new place to see and understand the world – providing a unique experience to be immersed in works created by women exclusively thereby creating new narrative, providing the space to ask questions, and to look and to think about the answers. It obviously must be community-owned, volunteer-run and a safe space. It will all depend on how much funding I will be able to raise to make the permanent space happen, but ideally, it should be a big enough space for the books, zines and other publication as well as other activities such as story telling, reading circles, book clubs, and zine making. It should be accessible to people with disabilities. People can get in touch with me if they are interested in supporting Sister Library with money, space or books.

Source - Scroll.in

Gorkhaland 2017: When Miracles Failed and Criticism Invited FIRs

8:28 AM

Writes - @oyeketa

During the 104 days of the shutdown, Darjeeling experienced what every political uprising faces - blockades, food scarcity, police brutality, unlawful arrests, media-blackout, and everything else that can make any movement fall on its knees. But, what broke the back of Gorkhaland agitation in 2017 was its dependence on the ‘miracles of Delhi’ and lack of vision of the incumbent Hills leadership. When the miracle story failed to deliver, the incumbent Hills leadership had to run for covers, lost its credibility, and were exposed for their gross mismanagement Gorkhaland administration in 10-years tenure.

Everybody believed that the GTA, with all its limitation, could have brought major changes in the region. However, the ruling party of the Hills chose to sleep through it for 10 years, before being alarmed by the end their term. The fact is that the politicians never took GTA seriously, and it was only used as an excuse to embalm the egos self-proclaimed leaders.

It was not the public who needed Miracles, it was the Leaders. The public was tired equally of a failed leadership, as it was of the Police brutality. Tragically, the frustration reached a level where the public simply didn’t care. Leaders who were till now sitting on the fence until now too timid to speak up suddenly found a reason to rejuvenate when the promised Miracles failed to arrive and they quickly jumped into the pool.

Without a strong or accountable leader on the ground, rising food scarcity, it was just about a matter of time before the public would receive with both arms whatever little they get from the State government. Today, there is a semblance of normality in Darjeeling Hills, restored through a proxy administration, special economic packages and even forceful coercion. Democracy is yet to shine. But is Darjeeling happy and smiling? I will leave that for you to answer.

Amidst the deaths, heavy police crack-down, and economic hardships, Darjeeling lost control of the Gorkhaland issue and the movement had to be outsourced to people and organizations living outside the region. Starting June 2017, the Gorkhaland movement had its own little 'Arab Spring' moment, whereby the movement which till now was confined to the Hills, spread like wildfire across the globe. It was for the first time in its history of 107-years that Nepali-speaking people of the world came together to show their solidarity and support for the movement. Right from Manipur to Mumbai, and Bangaluru to Kashmir and Kathmandu, UAE, North America, Israel, Hongkong, and Europe, people stood up for Darjeeling. All thanks to Interment and Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and WhatsApp.

It is highly debatable whether the global outcry and Facebookization of Gorkhaland issue actually benefitted the movement. But, thanks to the mobilization, funds were collected to send food to the Hills during the shutdown and to organize legal aid for any other assistance victims. Neither the fund recipients nor the donors are talking about it, is a different matter altogether.

One section of the public is happy and satisfied to see their Social Media walls filled with Gorkhaland protests and support across the globe. Movement supporters and sympathizers were able to speak up, disagree, and even exchange ideas. At the surface, it appeared that the Gorkhaland movement has finally opened up for democratic reforms where people could share ideas and collaborate.

However, there is another section that thinks while the publicity was good, it has created further divisions and polarized groups into extremes. The Leadership vacuum in the 2017 agitation has opened grounds for different individuals and organizations to assume a leadership position. Certainly, ‘the more, the merrier’ did not bring any good. The coveted Gorkhaland leadership soon became the tug-of-war, and the actual issue gets sidelined. The problem becomes dangerous when each group begins to think of themselves as the saviour of the Gorkhaland movement, the place, and its people.

The Politics of Criticism:

Some individuals, parties, and groups spearheading the 2017 agitation grew bigger than the ‘Cause’ itself. And as is the routine, when you become big and powerful, you don’t like dissenters. Any chapter of a history book is full of such example, and Gorkhaland is no exception.

We have witnessed right from the 1980s, that Gorkhaland has very little tolerance for opposition and criticism. The forceful exodus of dissenters, political murders, and persecution are normal to us.

Legal jargons and constitutional terminologies were also a mainstay of the 2017 agitation. The level of legal consciousness is highly praiseworthy but becomes worrisome when it also becomes a tool for threatening anyone who raises a question or criticizes a move. Court notices, FIRs, threats of defamation have been used against one another by those who claim to fight for Gorkhaland.

From a condescending ‘your criticism makes us strong’ to filing FIRs, and threats of defamation became the new tool against those criticizing and demanding accountability. Legal notices, court orders, were sent for criticizing leaders, organization, or even seeking financial accountability. The only difference from the past is that it is done in a much more polite and sophisticated manner than in the past. The underlying message remains the same though – Fall in Line or you Shall be brought down.

So, the bigger question is 'what about Gorkhaland? What good did the global outcry yield for Darjeeling? Are the problems of education, economic sustenance, poverty, employment, any better now? What about the people who sent truckloads of food during the shutdown? Will they need another shutdown to be awakened again? Are we doing anything to uplift education? Is any group adopting villages and schools that was planned so much during the emergency? Is anyone volunteering to help students improve?

To be honest, I cannot sacrifice my comfortable job and life to worry about these petty things. When there is another emergency, I shall send whatever is possible and will help with likes and shares on Social media. What will you Do?

Via TheDC

 
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