Showing posts with label NGC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NGC. Show all posts

The Curious Case of Sixth Schedule implementation in Darjeeling

10:42 AM

Writes: @Dinesh Sharma

A few weeks ago, there was much hue and cry about a ‘discussion on constitutional provisions in the context of Gorkhaland’ organized by National Gorkhaland Committee (NGC) at the Constitution Club Hall, New Delhi. Since most of my knowledge about Sixth Schedule was based on self-research and hearsay, I was curious to attend and know more about it from the legal experts invited as resources for the discussion.

The gathering was picture perfect with representations of most Darjeeling-based political parties, senior Supreme Court lawyers, Shri Vijay Hansaria and Shri A. Gupta. In fact, Mr. Vijay Hansaria is a constitutional expert and advisor on District Councils having worked extensively in the Administrative and legislative Councils across North-East region. Also present were, Shri Dilip Ninusa, Chairman of Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) and Shri Nirmal, member of Dima Hasa Council who shared a first-hand experience and challenges in the implementation the 6th schedule act. There were ‘more eminent personalities’ and few lesser mortals including yours humbly trying to grasp the discussion.

Unfortunately, a major dampener in the discussion was the unavailability of ground data from Darjeeling. As it was discovered during the discussion, there is a sea of differences between the socio-political conditions in the North-east and Darjeeling, including land-holding rights, population composition, tribal laws and kinship, among many other things.  The organizers too repeatedly acknowledged the lack of data required for the discussion and were quick to assure of more such discussions with proper data, which is yet to materialize.

The two-hour session was quite informative, but the resource person could not take questions effectively, simply because they were unaware of the social set-up in Darjeeling. The leaders of the Sixth Schedule councils pointed out that while the Act helps to safeguard their tribal identity and rights, the budget and funding provided to the councils are inadequate to meet the expenses as required. As the funds for Sixth Schedule are outside the annual financial plans and non-budgeted, the councils are at the mercy of their parent states for the funds. The information provided by the invited speakers was indeed enlightening and the session was very promising until the floor was open to public questions.

As a layman, it was challenging to understand the different arguments. However, at a superficial level, there were a few prominent questions that were left unanswered. I am summarizing the discussions as per my understanding and I stand corrected for anything I have misunderstood.

First, the provisions of Sixth Schedule were created solely for the purpose of the tribal districts of Meghalaya and Mizoram Districts of erstwhile Assam. The provision has never been tried outside the North-east region and remains in effect only in certain areas of Assam, Mizoram, and Manipur.

Second, the composition of the population is different between North-east and Darjeeling regions. The society is homogeneous without complex structures, and almost everyone with mongoloid appearance belongs to one or the other scheduled tribe. The society and population composition of Darjeeling district includes both scheduled tribes and non-tribal people, with the non-tribal in a huge majority.

Third, in the context of the North-east, land and territory is important for the definition of tribal identity. The people completely own the land under tribal laws, with local Kings as custodians of their ancestral properties. In Darjeeling, the land-holding pattern is completely different, with most of the land owned by individuals and tea gardens. Historically, the people have had very little say in their land and how resources from the land are managed.

The most important takeaway for me from the session was that while Sixth schedule, with all its flexibility and provisions to add and modify the act, is perhaps the best tool to safeguard identity, culture, and linguistic heritage of the scheduled tribes. In the absence of a state for every tribe, which looks impossible in near, the Sixth Schedule recognized guarantees legislative, economic, and judicial (for tribal law practising communities) authority for the protection and advancement of the communities. However, to pick the Sixth schedule as a template from the North-east region and implementing the same in Darjeeling could in fact invite more new worries rather than solving the issue. It can easily fuel ethnic nationalism, fight for reservations, and caste politics which is simply not in the interest of Gorkhaland.

In conclusion, the constitutional experts who were invited were also unaware of many things - the population demographics, land-holding patterns. They clearly stated that they will need more data and understanding of the ground realities to suggest or recommend anything. The sixth schedule, as it is in Northeast, cannot be applied to Darjeeling. Yes, if the proposed 14 tribes of Gorkhas are considered under tribals, there could be more positive outcomes to such discussions.

On the question of granting Union Territory, the expert panel had nothing much to add because the case of UT has not been on the discussion table as yet. The question here is not about having options to choose from, but a strategy to clearly define and work towards what the people want. There are no steps to a statehood movement which states ‘take this first, and then we will give you something else follow later’.

The bigger concern is why should people settle for something that is not their aspiration in the first place. In a democracy, it is upon the people to decide and pursue what they want from their Governments, and not the other way around.

Via TheDC

Shakti Gurung favours "control" on the Indo-Nepal border

11:59 AM
Darjeeling: Lt General (retd) Shakti Gurung, who is heading the National Gorkhaland Committee (NGC), an apolitical think tank looking into issues of the Gorkha community, said on Sunday that they were in favour of some "control" and "regulation" on the Indo-Nepal border.

Gurung's comment comes at a time an Eminent Persons Group (EPG) appointed by the governments of Nepal and India are reviewing the India-Nepal Friendship Treaty 1950 that has provisions for free movement of India and Nepal citizens into each others territory.

Shakti Gurung NGC
Shakti Gurung (NGC)
 Asked about the NGC's stand on the open border, Gurung, said: "There is a general feeling among Indian Gorkhas that we get questioned because the borders are open. There are some reasons why the country (India) has kept the border open, we share similar culture, traditions, Nepal is a friendly neighbour, but we believe that the treaty should be reviewed in light of the identity (of Indian Gorkhas)."

The EPG was formed in 2016 and its mandate runs till June this year. EPG members from Nepal include former foreign minister, Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, former lawmaker Rajan Bhattarai and constitutional and legal experts Nilambar Acharya and Surya Nath Upadhyay.

The demand for the scrapping of Article VII of the treaty was first raised by GNLF leader Subash Ghisingh when he led the statehood agitation in 1986. The GNLF had wanted the clause to be scrapped as it felt the rights given to the citizens of Nepal - a country contiguous to Darjeeling - under this treaty were blurring the distinction between Nepalese citizen and Indian Gorkhas who speak the same language.

Gurung said on Sunday: "There should be some kind of control, regulation (at the border). This is a general feeling, talk to any Gorkha community member in India, whether from here or Uttarkhand, they all feel that an open border raises questions on their (Indian) identity."

The NGC clarified that none of its members would be encouraged to contest elections.

"We will also form regional committees but we will only take those people who are not attached with political parties," said Gurung.

Via Telegraph


11:46 AM

Darjeeling, 21 April, 2018:  The National Gorkhaland Committee (NGC) released its Vision Document today at the GDNS Hall, Darjeeling. Present among the gathering were Heads of all Hill Political Parties, NGOs, sizeable number of ex-servicemen and locals. The document was released by Shri ----------, Shri ------ , Shri ------, and Shri ----, all eminent personalities of the four major communities – the Gorkhas, Adivasis, Rajbongshis and Bengali in a show of solidarity for the proposed state of Gorkhaland.

The NGC was established on 14 September 2017 in New Delhi as a non political organisation set up at the national level as a Think Tank. It consists of Gorkha citizens from across the country who have excelled in their respective fields. The main mandate of the NGC was to examine all options through peaceful dialogue and come up with viable solutions for the trouble torn Darjeeling Hills region.
The Vision Document is essentially a ‘People’s Document’ arrived at through intensive research, and after discussions and interaction with grassroots, legal, constitutional, and security experts, as well as economists and academicians. It looks at all aspects to validate the claim for statehood.
Speaking on the occasion, Lt Gen Shakti Gurung (retd), Chairman NGC, said that the Vision Document brought out in four languages – English, Hindi, Nepali and Bangla, was aimed at reaching a wide audience across the ountry and abroad. The document stresses the need for dialogue through peaceful means calling for unity of thought, expression and action among all communities of the region.
The Vision Document is divided into five sections – while Part I deals with the history of the Gorkhas and their contribution to nation building, Part II brings to the forefront the sensitive Siliguri Corridor vital for national security being  the start point of India’s Look East and Act East Policy – unless that is secured and sealed, the country will always be vulnerable to intrusion. Part III of the document deals with legal and constitutional issues wherein all relevant provisions are discussed with their pros and cons. Part IV deals with the economic viability of the proposed state and how it can contribute and add to the revenue of the country to become a ‘smart state’ like Sikkim. Part V deals with the present situation that exists in the region
The document also recommends the profile of the proposed state based on contiguity and homogeneity, which keeps in mind the aspirations of all minorities in the region.
The NGC intends to work in coordination with the authorities in the State and Central Governments to progress ahead with their demands stressing on the need for negotiations and discussions

पार्टीहरूबीचको एकता समयको मागः एनजीसी

11:41 AM
गोर्खाल्यान्डको लागि भविष्यको बाटो
प्रतिविम्ब न्यूज
दार्जीलिङ, 22 अप्रेल
राष्ट्रिय गोर्खाल्यान्ड कमिटीले हिजो अलग राज्य गोर्खाल्यान्डको लागि भिजन डकुमेन्ट जारी गर्यो। पुस्तकको रूपमा प्रकाशमा ल्याइएको यस दस्तावेजमा गोर्खाल्यान्डलाई वान पोइन्ट एजेन्डा मानेको छ। यसै दस्तावेजमा कमिटीले गोर्खाल्यान्डको लागि भविष्यको बाटो पनि बनाएको छ. जसको एकांश यस्तो छ।
अन्य राज्यहरूको माग
भारतमा आठवटा क्षेत्रले राज्यको माग गरिरहेका छन्। ती हुन् हरित प्रदेश (पश्चिाम उत्तर प्रदेश), पूर्वाञ्चल (उत्तरी उत्तर प्रदेश), बोडोल्याण्ड (आसाम), सौराष्ट्र (दक्षिण गुजरात), लद्दाख (पूर्वी जम्मु तथा काश्मिर), गोर्खाल्यान्ड (उत्तरी पश्चि म बंगाल), कोङ्गु नाडु (दक्षिणी तामिलनाडु) र विदर्भ (पूर्वी महाराष्ट्र)। गोर्खाल्यान्डको माग उपर्युक्त सबैभन्दा पुरानो 1907 देखिको वा 111 वर्षअघिको माग हो।
थप राज्यहरूका लागि किन यो माग।
राष्ट्रले आफैलाई सोध्नुपर्छ-किन अझ बड़ी राज्यहरूको मागमा कोलाहल भइरहेको छ। के यो क्षेत्रीय संशाधनमाथिको लड़ाई हो वा विकासको अभावले गर्दा हो। यो राजनीतिक विचारको कारणले हो वा भारतको संघीय ढाँचामा परिवर्तनको लागि हो। ठूलो राज्य हुँदैमा त्यो आर्थिकरूपले सम्पन्न राज्य हुन्छ भन्ने छैन। कुनै पनि राज्यलाई उसको प्रदर्शन र सुशासनको आधारमा मूल्यांकन गर्नुपर्छ। वर्तमान विकास योजना मोडलमा केन्द्रिय संघीय ढाँचा एउटा भौगोलिक राज्यका सबै क्षेत्रमा समान विकास ल्याउन असफल छ एवं दार्जीलिङ र डुवर्स जस्ता गैर-विकास योजना क्षेत्रमा विकासको मामिलामा त यो अझ बड़ी स्पष्टसँग देखिन्छ।
गोर्खाल्यान्ड जस्तो सानो राज्य किन आवश्यक छ
साना राज्यको व्यवस्थापन सहजै गर्न सकिन्छ। यी राज्यहरूमा श्रेष्ठ शासन र द्रूत विकास हुन्छ। एउटा सानो राज्यलाई स्मार्ट राज्य बनाउन सहज हुन्छ। क्षेत्रीय परिचय, सांस्कृतिक तथा भौगोलिक विविधताहरू प्रशासनिक सुविधाका लागि राम्रोसँग चिन्हित गर्न सकिन्छ। ऐन श्रृंखला र आन्तरिक सुरक्षाका मुद्दाहरू एउटा सानो राज्यमा श्रेष्ठ रूपमा व्यवस्थापन हुन्छ। गोर्खाल्यान्ड जस्तो एउटा सानो राज्य सधैं राष्ट्रवादको एउटा उदाहरण हुनेछ, किनभने यो गोर्खाहरूका लागि प्रदान गरिनेछ, जो देशका अग्रमोर्चाका सिपाही हुन्। आज पनि देशभरि लगभग 4.5 लाख भूतपूर्व गोर्खा सैनिकहरू छन् भने 70,000 गोर्खाहरू सेना र अर्धसामरिक बलमा कार्यरत छन्।
सिलगढी करिडर त्यसैले सुरक्षित हातमा हुनेछ। जहाँसम्म आर्थिक सम्पन्नताको प्रश्नू छ, गोर्खाल्यान्ड राज्य सानो जैव-विविधता, चिया उद्योग, पर्यटन, शिक्षा तथा औषधीय वनस्पतिका सम्भाव्यता र सम्पदाका कारण आर्थिकरूपले दीगो हुनेछ। 30औं राज्य गोर्खाल्यान्ड गठनको माग परिचय र जातीय भिन्नतामा आधारित छ भने बाँकी व्यवस्था पश्चि0म बंगाल राज्यसँग दार्जीलिङ र कालेबुङ जिल्ला एवं डुवर्समा बस्ने भारतीय गोर्खाहरूको किनारीकरणमाथि पश्चियम बंगाल राज्यको बड़्दो रणनीति चालमा आधारित छ। यसैले गम्भीर चिन्तनको आवश्यकतालाई प्रकाश पार्दै राष्ट्रिय सुरक्षाको दृष्टिले क्षेत्रलाई अझ सुरक्षित बनाउनुपर्ने हुटहुटी दर्शाउँछ।
गोर्खा राज्य मागको आन्दोलन अब 111 वर्षको भएको छ। यो लामो लड़ाईमा 12 सय 19 निर्दोष मानिसहरू पुलिसको गोलीबारीमा मारिएका छन्। तथापि जस्तै ठूलो शक्तिले पनि गोर्खाल्यान्ड राज्यको लोकप्रिय मागलाई दबाउन सकेको छैन। एउटा अस्थायी समाधानले फेरि आन्दोलनको ज्वालामुखी फुट्नअघि केही समयका लागि मात्र यसलाई शिथिल बनाउनेछ। पहाड़का राजनैतिक पार्टीहरूबीचको एकता समयको माग हो। क्षेत्रका सबै पार्टीहरूले अब एक स्वरमा आवाज उठाउन आवश्यक छ। कुनै अधिकारपत्र एवं एउटा पार्टीको जनादेशद्वारा क्षेत्रीय राजनीति संचालित गर्न सकिन्छ, तर जब राज्य र केन्द्र सरकारसँग छलफल तथा वार्ताको कुरा हुन्छ, त्यसबेला सबको स्वर एउटै हुनुपर्छ अनि मूल लक्ष्य 30औं राज्य गोर्खाल्यान्ड हुनुपर्छ।
यसैबीच, कमिटीका अध्यक्ष सेवानिवृत्त ले. जेनरल शक्ति गुरूङले दार्जीलिङ पहाड़का सबै राजनैतिक पार्टीहरूलाई गोर्खाल्यान्डको मागमा एकताको सूत्रमा बाँध्न भोलिनै गोदुनिस भवनमा एक सभा गर्ने योजना बनाएको पनि बताएका छन्। उनले एनजीसीलाई थिङ्क ट्याङ्कको संज्ञा दिंदै यसले गोर्खाल्यान्ड राज्य निर्माणको लागि देशको शीर्ष स्थानमा लबी गर्ने, चाप सृजना गर्ने जस्ता कामहरू गर्ने भएको र गर्दै आइरहेको पनि बताए।
फोटोः कार्यक्रमलाई सम्बोधन गर्दै शक्ति गुरूङ।
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