With reference to the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh’s meeting with Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Development of Northeast Region (DONER), and the reports on the meeting as carried by various national newspapers, including The Hindustan Times of News Delhi, The Hindu of Chennai and The Tribune of Chandigarh, certain erroneous and mischievous views are being circulated regarding the objectives of the Parisangh’s meeting. We are clarifying some points here.
1. The granting of Schedule Tribe status is state-specific. (According to the Union Tribal Ministry website: “The list of Scheduled Tribes is State/UT specific and a community declared as a Scheduled Tribe in a State need not be so in another State/UT.” http://tribal.nic.in/Con.../IntroductionScheduledTribes.aspx )
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2. The demand for OBC status for Gorkhas in the Northeast is entirely in the context of the Parisangh’s meeting with the DONER minister and not any other Union ministry. When ST status for Gorkhas in Northeast states was broached to the minister, Dr Jitendra Singh said there were pending issues about OBC status for Gorkhas in these states. The Parisangh said that the demand for OBC was an old one, and it wanted ST status for Gorkhas there. However, since the issues discussed pertained only to Gorkhas in the Northeast and not to Gorkhas in general across India, the Parisangh told the minister that it knew that because the entire Northeast region was a complex interplay of tribal affiliations, various state governments and the policymakers of the Northeast were reluctant to accord TRIBAL STATUS to Gorkhas. An example is Mizoram, where the Home Department has suggest OBC status for the Gorkhas, but the state cabinet has been reluctant to accord even OBC status, deciding instead to hold a new census of Gorkhas in the state. Since ST status may not be forthcoming for some time, the best alternative for Gorkhas to derive policy benefits in the region is through recognition as OBC.
3. Even OBC status is state-specific. Gorkhas, for instance, are OBCs in Uttarakhand but their OBC status does not confer similar status to Gorkhas in other Indian States nor to all Gorkhas at the Central level. The Parisangh, in its meeting with Dr Jitendra Singh, requested that he use his influence to have the Central Government extend the OBC status, in addition to ST/SC, given to Gorkhas in certain Northeast and other Indian states to the Central level, so that Gorkhas can still derive economic and development benefits of the Central Government.
4. The letter of the Parisangh, attached with this statement, to Union Tribal Welfare Minister Jual Oram clearly proves that the only pan-India social organization of the Gorkhas wants Scheduled Tribe status for all categories of Gorkhas across India. In fact, a resolution passed in the 3rd Mahaadhiveshan of the Parisangh in 2012 called for the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh to contact the authorities to confer special category statuses, including Schedule Tribes, Schedule Caste and OBC, wherever best applicable so that the Gorkhas are not left out of the development processes of the various states in which they are resident. The Parisangh is committed to ensuring that Gorkhas across India has access to whatever benefits the Constitution can accord under various provisions, whether they by ST, SC, OBC or other social categorizations.
5. It is a journalistic practice to contact the person/persons/organization about whom the journalist is writing something. When office bearers are unavailable to clarify points that may seem inadequate, the article normally mentions the fact that no one answered the journalist’s queries. It is, therefore, against journalistic practices to assume and infer malicious motives without having tried to ascertain the facts from the organization named. No one bothered to contact the Parisangh office bearers to seek their clarification, so the Parisangh rejects such articles as individual fantasies and biased opinions.
President, Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh.