Showing posts with label West Bengal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label West Bengal. Show all posts

Gorkhas May Suffer if NRC implemented in West Bengal

11:15 AM
If the NRC Is Extended to West Bengal, Indian Gorkhas May End Up Suffering
Swaraj Thapa

Questions over identity and citizenship of Indian Gorkhas have long persisted, which is one of the reasons behind the community's consistent demand for a Gorkhaland state.

As the debate continues over what will happen to those who will eventually be excluded from the final NRC list, Gorkhas or Nepalis in India would be well advised against rushing in to draw conclusions with regard to the exercise and instead analyse and assess possible implications that it could have on them, their status and identity.

On the face of it, the move to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) initiated at the behest of the Supreme Court to identify undocumented immigrants in Assam is welcome. For Gorkhas of India, who have been beset with an identity crisis and sometimes perceived as foreigners, it would naturally follow that an NRC would be another step in certifying them as Indians. Enlistment in the NRC will after all, affirm citizenship.

However, there are a few reasons why Gorkhas must tread with caution.

Gorkhas are well represented in the army and have given their lives in every battle fought for the country. However, recent news reports state that over one lakh Gorkhas or Nepalis have been excluded from the draft final NRC list. These Gorkhas or Nepalis, of course, will be given an opportunity to submit documents in support of their claim of being Indian citizens. They may be included in the final list or be excluded, if they are identified as immigrants from Nepal.

But this development points to the larger malaise afflicting Gorkhas or Nepalis in India: that of identity and the perception that all Gorkhas are immigrants from Nepal. How does one ensure that Indian Gorkhas do not get excluded from such a list?

In fact, it is this flogging stick that is invariably sought to be flashed whenever Indian Gorkhas or Nepalis have attempted to re-assert their identity and stake their rightful claim in nation-building. The most recent example was witnessed in Darjeeling last year. What began as a protest to oppose attempts to impose Bengali language in all schools in the state, including Darjeeling, soon turned into an agitation for identity and a demand for a separate state.

As the state began to crackdown on the protesters, it wasn’t long before the narrative took a different turn. The top leadership was charged with having links to Nepal’s Maoists. Some of the leaders involved – elected members of the Darjeeling municipality, a former elected councillor – were singled out to be alleged Nepalese citizens and hence foreigners. Systematically, their membership from respective elected bodies were sought to be cancelled and their names struck off the voters list. Reports also began circulating that authorities were considering looking at documentation of the local population dating back to 1950: a message that migrant Nepalese will be weeded out.

Hardly new tactics

Such tactics are hardly new for Gorkhas in India and those in public life have had to face it at every corner. Sikkim chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling has been accused of being a Nepali citizen, notwithstanding that he recently became the longest serving chief minister in the country. M.K. Subba, a three-term former MP from Assam, faced allegations that he was a Nepali citizen. He was expelled from the Congress party in 2014 and suffered a sudden illness soon after. Balkrishna Acharya, the low profile MD of Patanjali Ayurved and arguably among the richest Indians with a reported networth of US$6.5 billion, faced investigation under the UPA government on charges that he was a Nepali citizen and had forged documents to obtain an Indian passport. In Darjeeling itself, Gorkha candidates contesting local polls in Terai regions like Naxalbari and Phansidewa are faced with slogans that they should go back to Nepal. Questioning the identity of Gorkhas of India, make no mistake, has been around for a long time.

Admittedly, one of the key reasons for Indian Gorkhas or Nepalis facing this crisis is the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship signed by India and Nepal. The open border between the two countries as a consequence of the treaty, allowing citizens of both countries a free passage. Indeed, barring electoral privileges, any Nepali citizen can purchase property in India, do business and even join government jobs at certain levels officially while continuing to remain citizens of Nepal.

Article 7 of the friendship treaty states:

“The governments of India and Nepal agree to grant, on reciprocal basis, to the nationals of one country in the territories of the other the same privileges in the matter of residence, ownership of property, participation in trade and commerce, movement and other privileges of a similar nature.”



There is also a history of Nepali citizens joining the Indian Army, many of whom are now in senior positions. I have met officers in the rank of Colonel, who are Nepali citizens. There is a sizeable migrant population.

An identity crisis

The confusion created by the arrangement in the mind of an average Indian also poses an identity crisis for Indian Gorkhas. While the borders are open, there exists no mechanism for a head count of the people entering or exiting. This makes it difficult to estimate the actual number of immigrant Nepalis in India.

While the 1950 treaty entitles Nepali citizens to live in India, I am apprehensive that should the NRC exercise ever be extended to West Bengal, it could pose problems for Gorkhas or Nepalis because a majority of the population in Darjeeling and surrounding Terai region have rarely maintained adequate documentation with regard to their residential claims. BJP leaders in West Bengal have already saidthey will implement NRC in the state if the party comes to power. Assam and West Bengal, incidentally, have the highest number of Gorkhas in the country.

An attempt to amend the 1950 treaty has been underway for some time now with a joint Eminent Persons Group (EPG) set up by both governments. It has finalised its recommendations. If the EPG is able to recommend a mechanism that will make a clear distinction between Indian Gorkhas and Nepali nationals living and working in India, the former would not face questions over their identity.

A public Indian identity

Historically, Darjeeling and Sikkim, because of the concentration of Gorkhas living there, have led the campaign for a public Indian identity. Leaders from the two places were at the forefront of the Nepali language movement. But naturally, language was also the rallying point for a wider political demand, as witnessed anywhere else. Whether it was the anti-Hindi imposition agitation in the South or the Bengali language movement in Assam, the result was a political consolidation of the forces opposing such moves.

Similarly, Gorkhas or Nepalis of India got together after former Prime Minister Morarji Desai erroneously said in 1977 that Nepali is a foreign langauge and all Nepalis in India are foreigners. It triggered a nationwide Bhasha Andolan, which became a unifying factor in the bid to fashion a distinct Indian identity.

The formulation of Indian Gorkha identity received wider support during the Subhash Ghisingh led Gorkhaland movement of the mid-1980s, not just in the Darjeeling region, but even elsewhere in the country. Although self-rule and identity were the primary objectives, language also played a key role. Ultimately, the Centre conceded and Nepali was included as one of the official languages in the eighth schedule of the Constitution in 1992. Additionally, the Centre also issued a gazette notification in 1988 clarifying that Gorkhas residing in India were Indian citizens.

Mamata Banerjee’s Bengal and Assam contrast

Today, when West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee vociferously takes up the cause of the 40 lakh people excluded from the NRC final draft list – most of them speakers of the Bengali language – one cannot but compare the contrast in her actions with respect to Gorkhas. A poem titled “Identity” that she penned for the 40 lakh excluded from the NRC could well have echoed the pain and anguish suffered by Indian Gorkhas for several decades now.

Yet, it is ironical how Banerjee failed to appreciate the similarities between Bengali speaking population of Assam and Nepali speaking population in West Bengal. Both are multilingual states where minority groups are under pressure from the majority, resulting in identity assertion of the minorities. That was the logical explanation for the flareup over language issue in Darjeeling last year.

There are lessons to be learnt in every movement. While every state is multilingual and mandated to respect the rights of linguistic minorities, political practice has demonstrated that the official language symbolises the state. Speakers of minority languages find that discrimination against them by the majority community is based not on language competence or achievement, but on language identification. The Rajbanshis and Kochs of Cooch Behar have assimilated themselves, adopting Bengali as their language. But Gorkhas have resisted this and have paid the price. As a consequence, Gorkhas of Darjeeling feel that a separate state is the only answer to the problems of identity and discrimination.

An NRC in West Bengal may not be unwelcome, but a clear distinction has to be made between Indian Gorkhas and immigrant Nepalese living in India first.

Swaraj Thapa is a political commentator and activist.

Via The Wire

West Bengal name changed to "Bengla"

8:16 PM
West Bengal Assembly passes resolution to change state’s name to “Bangla”

Writes: Avijit Ghosal

The West Bengal Assembly unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday to change the state’s name to Bangla.
West Bengal name changed to "Bengal"

However, the change in name will only happen once the home ministry approves the resolution.

The move follows months of back-and-forth between the state and Centre over the proposal.

The Centre had earlier turned down the state government’s proposal to change the name of West Bengal to ‘Bengal’ in English and ‘Bangla’ in Bengali. The state government, led by chief minster Mamata Banerjee, then decided to send another proposal of changing the name to Bangla in all three languages – Bengali, Hindi and English, state education minister Partha Chatterjee had earlier said.

Incidentally, the state government had decided to rename the state as ‘Bengal’ after its earlier proposal of rechristening it as ‘Paschim Bango’, made in 2011 when the Trinamool Congress took office, failed to get the Centre’s approval.

The primary reason for changing the name of West Bengal is that whenever there is a meeting of all states, West Bengal figures at the bottom of the list which is prepared in alphabetical order.

[Via: HT, file pic]

Bengal govt issues transfer orders to Hill teachers for raising voice for people democratically

9:01 AM

The West Bengal government has issued transfer orders to two government employees for allegedly indulging in “anti-government activities” and “trying to stir up unrest”.

This comes after the district administration wrote to the state school education department, accusing the teachers of “trying to stir up unrest” in the Hills, and requested their transfer to Presidency, Midnapore or Burdwan divisions. The Indian Express is in possession of the letter from the district administration to principal secretary, School Education Department.

Political parties in the Hills, including the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), have slammed the move.

Joyoshi Das Gupta, district magistrate, Darjeeling, told The Indian Express, “There are government servants in different departments, including teachers, who have stayed back in Darjeeling for years without transfers. A section of such officials neglect duty and services, and welfare schemes do not reach the people. Moreover, it has been found that they have been involved in acts unbecoming of government employees and stirring up locals. Action is being taken according to rules. This is to ensure that people get the benefit of government initiatives.”

“In the recent case, the teachers have been found to stir up unrest by making false promises to locals in the name of forest rights. In one case, a teacher was also found spreading misinformation through social media,” she added.

“In the past one year, six or seven such people, comprising teachers and nurses, have been transferred for acts unbecoming of a government employee,” she said.

A senior government official said, “We are keeping an eye on government officials. In a surprise visit, it was found that a school was shut on a working day. We are also following up on cases against government servants during the 105-day shutdown here.”

Meanwhile, one of the teachers who faces action plans to knock on the court’s door.

“I received a transfer letter on Saturday from the state school education department. I will have to go to court. I was involved in a democratic agitation for rights of forest land. I spoke with the local residents and we demanded that Forest Rights Act 2006 be properly implemented in Darjeeling. I think that is why I am being transferred. Education is under Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), but the letter has been sent by the school education department,” Lila Kumar Gurung told The Indian Express.

Gurung, who is also general secretary of Himalayan Forest Villagers Association, has been transferred from Kumai High School in Kalimpong to Rimbik High School, near the Nepal border.

A government official said, “He (Gurung) has been found to stir up local residents. Despite being a government employee, he has been found to make anti-government statements on social media. In a surprise visit, it was found that he stayed absent from school on many occasions. He has been transferred within the Hills. But he wants to stay in the same area.”

GNLF spokesperson Neeraj Zimba criticised the move and targeted GTA chief Binay Tamang. “The transfer order of Sri Lila Kumar Gurung is part of Binay Tamang’s political dealings as openly declared by him in public meetings. For the first time in the history of Gorkha politics, we have seen a nominated stooge openly declare from a public platform that he will politically victimise all those who do not support him. All should protest against this,” Zimba said in a statement on social media.

Despite repeated calls, Tamang could not be reached.

Via indianexpress

HILLS STILL MOURNING

5:43 PM

Writes Swadhin Rai

"They said fight and many lost their lives leaving families devastated. We lost our dignity; lost the battle and sold our soul, yet we denied. Time and again we hated the policies and the dividing intention of Mamta Government, when in fact the problem was always with us.

Then again they sponsored us to celebrate through different medium. Celebrate our defeat. They said sing and we sang; dance and we danced. Our soul has completely eroded, emotions out of our reach, we don't even feel and influence on the direction that seems shiny and decorated and yet we talk about achieving our goal.

Listen to the voices of hills. Your smiles are fake. You have lost your voice and the act is just insanity manifesting itself.

When are we going to learn to honor the sacrifices made by people who died for us?

People, hear the voice of hills, she is still mourning."

[In pic: The tender fingers of the youngest daughter of Barun Bhujel affectionately touch her father's face. Barun Bhujel, a ward commissioner and Gorkhaland supporter died, while in the custody of West Bengal Police]

Nursing Admissions 2018 under the Govt of West Bengal

9:30 PM
IMPORTANT: Nursing Admissions 2018

Applications are invited for three year GNM Training Course, including 6 months internship in Nursing Training Schools under the Govt of WB.

Criterion:
1. Age - Between 17 to 27 years as on 01.01.2018
2. Citizen of India, and premanent resident of any district of West Bengal for at least five years preceding the date of submission of application
3. Must be able to read, write and express in Bengali/Nepali
4. Minimum qualification: HS (10+2) exam

For other details please check the pics below, and visit the site: www.wbhealth.gov.in











पंचायत चुनाव में विमल गुरुंग गुट ने दर्ज कराई दमदार उपस्थिति।

4:11 PM

*कालचीनी और नागराकाटा प्रखंड के कई पंचायतों में जीती सीटें

-"यदि केंद्रीय बलों की मौजूदगी में मतदान होता तो और सीटें मिलती" -शिवानंद पांडेय,

सिलीगुड़ी : गोरखा जनमुक्ति मोर्चा में दो गुट हो जाने के बाद भी ज्यादातर मोर्चा समर्थकों ने अपनी आस्था भूमिगत चल रहे मोर्चा नेता व गोरखालैंड टेरिटोरियल एडमिनिस्ट्रेशन के पूर्व मुख्य कार्यकारी विमल गुरुंग में जताई है।
ऐसा संकेत हाल ही में हुए त्रि-स्तरीय पंचायत चुनाव में देखने को मिला। इससे यह माना जा रहा हैं कि विमल गुरुंग का प्रभाव कम नहीं हुआ है। ऐसा उनके समर्थक मानते हैं। भाजपा के साथ गठबंधन कर गोजमुमो विमल गुरुंग गुट ने भाजपा के बैनर तले कालचीनी व नागराकाटा प्रखंड समेत डुवार्स क्षेत्र के विभिन्न ग्राम पंचायतों में पंचायत सदस्य की सीटों पर जीत दर्ज कराई। जबकि यह चर्चा जोरों पर थी कि गोजमुमो पर वर्चस्व विमल गुरुंग का कायम रहेगा या अब उनके खिलाफ ताल ठोंक रहे जीटीए बोर्ड ऑफ एडमिनिस्ट्रेशन के चेयरमैन विनय तमांग का आधिपत्य हो जाएगा। राजनीतिक जानकारों का मानना है कि पंचायत चुनाव के नतीजे से विनय तमांग गुट को करारा झटका लगा है।

गुरुवार को घोषित नतीजे से यह स्पष्ट हो गया कि मोर्चे के कुछ नेताओं के तृणमूल कांग्रेस में शामिल होने के बाद भी मोर्चा समर्थित मतदाताओं का एक बड़ा धड़ा विनय तमांग के प्रति नहीं, बल्कि विमल के प्रति आस्था रखता है। कभी गोजमुमो में नंबर दो का स्थान रखने व गोजमुमो केंद्रीय कमेटी के प्रचार सचिव रहे विनय तमांग के अलग गोरखालैंड मांग के प्रति नरम रूख अपनाए जाने के साथ ही मोर्चा के अंदर ही विनय तमांग के खिलाफ आवाज उठानी शुरू हो गई थी कि वे तृणमूल कांग्रेस के 'बी' टीम के रूप में काम कर रहे हैं। पंचायत चुनाव से पहले देखा भी गया कि कालचीनी ब्लॉक में गोजमुमो के कई नेता पार्टी छोड़कर तृणमूल कांग्रेस में शामिल हो गए थे। वहीं पंचायत चुनाव के परिणाम से साबित हो गया कि विमल के सामने नहीं आने के बाद भी डुवार्स क्षेत्रों में उनके समर्थकों की कमी नहीं है। विमल गुट ने भाजपा के साथ मिलकर चुनावी चुनावी लड़ाई लड़ी। उसी समय तृणमूल ने दावा किया था कि कालचीनी इलाके में विमल का प्रभाव सीमित हो गया है। जबकि जयगांव एक नंबर ग्राम पंचायत में मोर्चा के साथ गठबंधन के आधार पर भाजपा को मिला थी सात सीट, जबकि जयगांव दो नंबर ग्राम पंचायत में तीन सीट। वहीं जयगांव के पास के मालंगी ग्राम पंचायत के 24 सीटों में से भाजपा-मोर्चा गठबंधन को 11 सीट मिली थीं, वहीं तृणमूल कांग्रेस को 10 सीट मिली। कालचीनी प्रखंड के गारोपाड़ा ग्राम पंचायत के कुल 20 सीटों में से भाजपा-मोर्चा गठबंधन को 10 सीटें मिली था, जबकि तृणमूल कांग्रेस को सात सीटों से ही संतोष करना पड़ा। दलसिंगपाड़ा ग्राम पंचायत के 13 सीटों में भाजपा को आठ सीट व तृणमूल कांग्रेस को पांच सीट प्राप्त हुई थी।
इसी तरह से नागराकाटा प्रखंड के चंपागुड़ी ग्राम पंचायत के 25 सीटों में भाजपा-मोर्चा गठबंधन को 16 सीटें तो तृणमूल को मात्र नौ सीटें मिली।

इस बारे में गोरखा जनमुक्ति मोर्चा केंद्रीय कमेटी के सदस्य व विमल गुरुंग समर्थक मधुकर थापा ने बताया कि पंचायत चुनाव में तृणमूल कांग्रेस के ¨हसा व अराजकता के बाद भी कई सीटों पर मोर्चा समर्थित उम्मीदवारों ने जीत दर्ज की। अगर केंद्रीय अर्धसैनिक बलों की मौजूदगी में मतदान कराया जाता तो और सीटें मिलती।

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]

हामीहरु रोहिङ्या होइनौं,हामी सबैजना कोलकाता सोनापुरको वासिन्दा हौ अनि खाटी भारतीय हौ

2:32 PM

कालेबुङ,२८/०४/२०१८,

केही दिन अघि सोसियल मिडियामा भाइरल बनेको भिडिया जहाँ कालेबुङको थाना डाँडा अघि एक हुल मुस्लिम समुदायका युवकहरु वाहनबाट उत्रिएको देखाइएको थियो।

त्यहीँ भिडियोमा देखिएको एक सदस्य शेख शहनशाहले पत्रकारहरु लाई जानकारी दिदै भने हामी रोहिङ्या हैनौ,हामी खाटी भारतीय हौं।अनि हामी सित मतदाता परिचयपत्र देखि लिएर अन्य सम्पुर्ण आवश्यक परिचयपत्रहरु छ्।हामी कोलकाताको सोनापुरको वासिन्दा हौं।अनि हामी १५ जनाको समुह कालेबुङमा एक धार्मिक कार्यक्रम लिएर आएका हौं।

भिडियोमा हामीलाई रोहिङ्या भनी देखाईएको छ जुन पुर्णतः गलत अनि झुठो हो।

हामी प्रायः जसो मुस्लिम धर्मको संस्कृति अनि धर्म प्रचारको निम्ति देशको एक स्थान देखि अर्को स्थानहरूमा गइरहन्छौ।अनि मस्जिदमा बस्ने गर्दछौ।त्यस्तै एक कार्यक्रम लिएर हामी कालेबुङ आएका हौं।

कोलकाताको सोनारपूरमा शिक्षकको रूपमा कार्यरत शेख शेहनशाहले बताएअनुसार कालेबुङमा आएको टोलीमा बेसि जस्तो बिध्यार्थीहरु छ्न।जस्ले भर्खरै मात्र उच्च माध्यमिक परिक्षा दिएर बसेका छन्।आफ्नो समुदायको धार्मिक कुरा सिक्न अनि धर्मबारे जानकारी आदान प्रदान गर्न नै उनीहरू कालेबुङ आएका हुन्। “हामीलाई थाहा थिएन हाम्रो भीडियो बनाएर यस प्रकारको अफवाह पनि फैलिनेछ। यद्यपि जे पनि अफवाह फैलिरहेको छ यो पूर्णतया झुटो अनि भ्रमक हो”- उनले अझ भने।

अर्कोतिर कालेबुङको मुस्लिम सङ्गठनका पदाधिकारी  अञ्जुमन इस्लामियाले पनि भाइरल भीडियो अनि अफवाहमाथि आफ्नो आपत्ती जनाएको छ।सङ्गठनका मुख्यसचीव मसुद सुल्तानले पनि कतिथ भीडियोमा देखाइएका मानिसहरू कालेबुङ्को ठाकुरबाडी स्थित मस्जिदमा धार्मिक कार्यलाई लिएर आएको बताउँदै अकारण यस्ता अफवाह फैलाउनेमाथि कार्यवाही गर्नुपर्ने आफ्नो माग प्रति जोड दिदै भने। “कतिथ भीडियोमा देखाइएका मानिसहरू रोहिङ्या भनेर देखाइएको खबर पुर्ण रुपमा झुठो हो।भिडियोमा देखाइएका कोही पनी रोहिङ्या होइनन् उनीहरु सबैजना एक धार्मिक कार्यलाई लिएर आएका इस्लामिक धर्मावलम्बीहरू हुन्। यसरी मस्जिदमा इस्लामिक धर्मावलम्बीहरू बाहिरबाट आउने क्रम नौलो होइन। उनीहरू आउँछन् जान्छन् तर उनीहरूको भीडियो बनाएर झुटो खबर फैलाउनु उचित होइन”- उनले भने।

केहि वास्तविकता न बुझी सामाजिक सञ्जालहरुमा यस्तो झुटो खबर फैलाउनु एउटा अपराध हो।यस्तो नहुने अपराध गर्नेहरूलाई खोजेर प्रशासनले कार्यवाही गर्नुपर्छ। किनभने यस्तो भ्रामक कुराहरूको कारण गर्दा भोलिको दिनमा यदि कुनै ठुलो काण्ड भएमा त्यसको जिम्मेवार कस्ले लिने? यसर्थ प्रशासनले झट्ट यस दिशामा उचित कार्यवाही गर्नुपर्छ”- उनले आफ्नो माग राखे।

 
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