Showing posts with label Sixth Schedule. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sixth Schedule. Show all posts

निरजलाई याद आयो बिमलको।।

2:58 PM

बिमल गुरुङले छैटौं अनुसूचीलाई समर्थन गरे म पनि कानुनी रुपले बिमलको सहयोग गर्न तयार छु।।

हिज खरसाङमा गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चाले र्‍याली आयोजना गरेका थिए भने र्‍याली पछि मोटर स्ट्यान्डमा पुगेर सभामा परिणत भयो।
उक्त कुरा गोरामुमो नेता निरज जिम्बाले सभामा उपस्तिथ आफ्नो समर्थकहरुलाई सम्बोधन गर्दै भनेका हुन।।
पहाडँको राजनैतिक समाधानको निम्ति छैटौं अनुसूची बाहेक यदि अन्य कुनै पनि राम्रो ब्यवस्था भए म त्यस्को निम्ति निशुल्क काम गर्नु तयार छु ।निरज जिम्बा अनुसार बिमल गुरुङले पनि छैटौं अनुसूचीलाई समर्थन गरे उनी बिमल गुरुङको निम्ति कानुनी लडाई लडन तयार रहेको पनि बताएका छन्।।।गोरामुमो प्रवक्ताले दावी गरेअनुसार पहाडँमा अहिले पनि बिमल गुरुङको समर्थकहरु १००% रहेको अनि यदि पहाडमा चुनाव भए सबै कुरा स्पष्ट बन्नेछ।उनले बिमल गुरुङ बाहेक पहाडँका अन्य राजनैतिक दलका नेताहरुलाई पनि छैटौं अनुसूचीको समर्थनको निम्ति अघि आउने आवहन गरेका छन्।

सुत्र द्वारा थाहा लागेअनुसार भुमिगत नेता बिमल गुरुङले चाडै नै अडियो अथवा भिडियो म्यासेज द्वारा छैटौं अनुसूचीको निम्ति आफ्नो समर्थन जनाउन सक्नेछन्।

GNLF to resume 6th Schedule demand in Darjeeling

8:24 AM

Gorkha National Liberation Front President Mann Ghisingh on Sunday asked his party leaders and members not to get stuck on the Hill Area Development Committee (HADC), maintaining that they should now move forward for the demand of the Sixth Schedule. This was said by Ghisingh at his party office in Dr. Zakir Hussain road where the flag of the Gorkha Rashtriya Ex-Servicmen was unveiled.

“We have to take forward the demand of Sixth Schedule visibly, in the eyes of the people and not get stuck with the HADC. Some time ago, some people were disappointed with this committee due to our decision to participate in the HADC that has been formeed by the West Bengal government,  but the main issue of our party is the Sixth Schedule and it is necessary to go to rural areas to make people understand the importance of the Sixth Scheduled.  We must make the people understand it in whichever way it is possible; be it putting up posters or making them hear the speeches of my father (the late GNLF president Subash Ghisingh). We must make the people aware of this issue,” he said.

Subash Ghisingh while chairing the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council had realized that the council formed under an act of the West Bengal government did not enjoy sufficient powers and the real autonomy for the hill council could be achieved only if it was constituted under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
The GNLF president also spoke on the political relationship that the party had maintained with the state government adding that though they were were continuing with it the party also needed the mandate of the people.

“The party leaders should go to different villages and increase their contact with the people and convince them. The primary issue of our part is 6th schedule and our second issue is the development of the villages,” said Ghisingh.

He claimed that the last hope for the people in the hills, Terrai and the Dooars was the GNLF.

The GNLF will soon call a meeting to chalk out the future
programmes of the party to take forward these issues.

[Via: EOIC, file pic]

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

GNLF March for implementation of the Sixth Schedule in Darjeeling Hills

7:53 AM

Writes Neeraj Zimba Tamang

The most prominent and important structural change in the administration is the grant of political autonomy and statehood in North East India. This process goes back to the British Era when the Interim Government of India had appointed a sub-committee to the Constituent Assembly, viz. North- East Frontier (Assam) Tribal and Excluded Areas Committee under the Chairmanship of first Assam Chief Minister, Gopinath Bardoloi. The committee recommended setting up of autonomous district councils to provide due representative structures at the local level to the tribal population. The recommendation was later incorporated into Sixth Schedule (article 244 (2) & Article 275(1)) of the Indian Constitution.
Gorkha National Students' Front (GNSF) march in Darjeeling for Sixth Schedule
Provisions of the Sixth Schedule As per the Sixth Schedule, the four states viz. Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram contain the Tribal Areas which are technically different from the Scheduled Areas. Though these areas fall within the executive authority of the state, provision has been made for the creation of the District Councils and regional councils for the exercise of the certain legislative and judicial powers. Each district is an autonomous district and Governor can modify / divide the boundaries of the said Tribal areas by notification. Currently, there are ten such Councils in the region as listed below:

Assam Bodoland Territorial Council Karbi. Anglong Autonomous Council Dima Hasao. Autonomous District Council Garo Hills.
Autonomous District Council Jaintia Hills. Autonomous District Council Khasi Hills. Autonomous District Council of Tripura
Mizoram Chakma Autonomous District Council Lai Autonomous District Council
Mara Autonomous District Council.

Analysis: Assessment of Sixth Schedule in North East First, we should note that the Sixth Schedule was primarily adopted to address the political aspirations of the Nagas. But the Nagas refused it because they said it was too little. The Sixth schedule lays down a framework of autonomous decentralized governance with legislative and executive powers over subjects like water, soil, land, local customs and culture. The Legislations passed by the Autonomous councils come into effect only after the assent of the Governor. Except Tripura and Bodoland councils, these bodies have also been given judicial powers to settle certain types of civil and criminal cases also. Thus, the councils under the sixth schedule have been given more power than the local governments under the 73rd and 74th amendments in the rest of the country. It has been established that this autonomy paradigm has brought a degree of equilibrium within the tribal societies mainly via the formal dispute resolution under customary laws and through control of money-lending etc. In Assam, Tripura and Mizoram, the autonomous councils have power to decide if a State legislation on subject matters under the autonomous councils should apply to their territories or not. Similarly, the Union legislations on similar subjects can be excluded from applying to these areas by the State Government in Assam and the union Government in the other two States. However, there are certain issues due to which the sixth schedule has ended up creating multiple power centers instead of bringing in a genuine process of democratization or autonomy in the region.

They are as follows: Conflict of Power
There are frequent conflicts of interest between the District Councils and the state legislatures. For example, in Meghalaya, despite the formation of the State, the whole of the State continues to be under the Sixth Schedule causing frequent conflicts with the State Government. Para 12 (A) of the Sixth Schedule clearly states that, whenever there is a conflict of interest between the District Councils and the state legislature, the latter would prevail. Thus state enjoys the superiority, but then it is alleged that autonomous councils are mere platforms for aspiring politicians who nurture ambitions to contest assembly polls in the future. Disparity among Autonomous Bodies and Local Bodies This is another important area of conflict. The local bodies established via Seventy-third Amendment are more liberally funded through the State Finance commissions. In a state where there are more than one autonomous councils; one claims that it is being treated less favourably than other. For example, in Assam, there is a perceived preferential treatment to Bodoland Territorial Council in matters of budget allocations. Functioning of Governor The Legislations passed by the Autonomous councils come into effect only after the assent of the Governor.

However, Governor works as per the aid and advice of the state Council of Ministers. This makes many a times, the autonomous councils irrelevant as far as power to legislate is concerned. Remedies to Sixth Schedule problems several measures can be taken up as remedy to above problem.
Firstly, there is a need that Sixth Schedule is amended and Autonomous Councils are made to benefit from the recommendations of the state finance commission.

Secondly, state governments and the Autonomous Councils should identify powers under the Sixth Schedule that Governors may exercise at their discretion without having to act on the ‘aid and advice’ of the Council of Ministers.

Thirdly, the administration of the district autonomous councils should be periodically reviewed by a commission under Union Government.

Gorkha National Students' Front (GNSF) is the student wing of the Gorkha National Liberation Front's (GNLF)

GNLF - assembly election helped restoring democracy in the hills

8:41 AM
Darjeeling 16 May 2016 The Gorkha National Liberation Front today heralded the recently concluded Assembly election as a force that has played a major role in restoring democracy in the hills even as it maintained winning or losing to be a secondary issue.
Indramani Rai, the GNLF Darjeeling town committee president, praised the part played by the district administration and the police, along with the election commission for ensuring polling went about peacefully. He said, “The election was peaceful and smooth and everyone could exercise their franchise freely. It is our opinion that democracy is not lost here and for this we must thank the election commission, administration and the police department.”
The GNLF did not field candidates from the hills for the state Assembly election, and instead chose to extend support to the Trinamool Congress in Darjeeling and Kurseong and to the Jan Andolan Party in Kalimpong.
 Gorkha National Liberation Front GNLF Flag
 Gorkha National Liberation Front GNLF Flag
Rai said the election was only an exercise to test the waters for the party’s future activities in the hills and that victory and loss were not the end factors. “We thank the voters who rallied behind candidates we supported. But the bigger issue for us is the difference in victory margin achieved by the winning candidates. This will pave the way for our party’s future political activities,” the GNLF town committee president said.
On whether the GNLF would participate in the upcoming panchayat election in November-December, Rai said, “We are not concentrating on the panchayat election as our agenda of implementing the Sixth Schedule in the hills is more important. Besides, we will first have to go through the provision of the Sixth Schedule to see if things like panchayat election can be conducted.”
In December 2005, GNLF president Subash Ghisingh and the central government had signed a Memorandum of Agreement to bring the Darjeeling hills under the Sixth Schedule. A bill had also been placed in Parliament in 2007, but it was put in the backburner following opposition by the BJP when the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha objected to it.
“We still maintain that granting Sixth Schedule status to the Darjeeling hills is the best and only plausible solution to the problems that keep haunting the region. It was our Subash Ghisingh’s vision and political acumen to make the demand because Bengal had given us everything in its power then. The issue is still alive in Parliament and all that is needed is to pursue it properly,” Rai said.
He also said his party would take into consideration factors like time and the current situation and take a call on whether to participate in the municipality election or extend support to other parties. 


GNLF‬ seeking to regain lost glory in ‪Darjeeling hills

9:22 PM

‬The Gorkha National Liberation Front has started to reach out to the people in its bid to revive and to strengthen its base in the hills after remaining low for the most part of four years.

GNLF president Mann Ghisingh has embarked on a whirlwind tour of constituencies in the hills to assert the party’s presence. Mann took over as the party reins after the death of his father Subash Ghsingh in January of last year. “Our party president is visiting various constituencies and meeting people. We are holding street corner meetings and rallies in different places. So far we have received good response from the people who are fed up with the autocratic rule of the present dispensation,” said Biren Lama, the central committee coordinator of the GNLF.

The GNLF is trying to revive the Sixth Schedule issue that has been put in the backburner by the Union government. The demand was taken up by Subash Ghisingh and a memorandum of agreement to this effect was also signed in December 2005. However, in 2008 a bill to put the Darjeeling hills under the purview of the Sixth Schedule that had been placed in Parliament was rejected. Even so, the GNLF is adamant and insists that only a Sixth Schedule status would solve the problems plaguing the hills. The party also wants the now-defunct Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council to be reinstated.

“The Sixth Schedule bill has not been scrapped as is being claimed by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. We want the Centre to take appropriate measures to reintroduce the bill,” Lama said adding: “Until then we demand the reinstatement of the DGHC as that council body has constitutional guarantee and is the next step towards achieving Sixth Schedule status.” The BJP had played a major role in blocking the Sixth Schedule bill in Parliament after being persuaded by the GJM, its political ally.

The GJM has helped the BJP win from Darjeeling constituency in the 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Now, the GNLF, which was ousted from power by the GJM back in 2007, wants to gain ground in the rural areas, which were once the party’s stronghold. In particular, the GNLF is reaching out to people in the tea belts that comprise the bulk of the hill population. Today, its trade union – the Himalayan Plantation Workers Union (HPWU)- led a delegation to the office of the Darjeeling district magistrate and submitted a memorandum listing tea garden workers’ issues.

The HPWU has requested the district administration to intervene and facilitate the opening of Panighatta tea garden and also the estates controlled by the Alchemist Group.

Panighatta tea garden has remained closed since October 2015, while workers of the Alchemist Group-owned Dhootriah, College Valley and Peshok gardens are yet to receive their wages. “We submitted a memorandum to the district magistrate requesting his intervention in the matter. Workers are facing acute problems due to the closureas they have not got wages for more than four to five months now,”said Bharat Thakuri, the HPWU Darjeeling branch committee president.

The trade union wants the state government to take proactive steps and persuade the management to reopen the gardens, while another option it has proposed is to take over the management of the estates. Another option it has put forward is a takeover of the plantation land by the state government and its distribution among the workers. “Our takeover proposal was rejected by the district magistrate as the matter would come under the plantation act.

However, the district administration has said food stocks and medical facilities can be arranged if required. Further, workers will be given job cards under the 100 days work scheme,” Thakuri said. HPWU leaders said they would wait till the start of the first flush period in March-April to see the response of the management and the state government before launching an intensified agitation.

Source: EOIC

Did Subash Ghisingh foresaw the crack within the Gorkha communities

8:02 AM

.9th April 2005 – Letter sent to Sri Kunwar Singh (Chairman National Commission for ST,Govt of India, New Delhi )

Writes: Seetam Thakuri

I would like to expressed my thanks and gratitude for granting scheduled tribe status to “Tamang” and “Limbu” of India which was done vide Govt. of India Gazette Notification no 10 dated New Delhi the 8th January 2003. However, this action of govt. of Indian has created confusion, controversy and ill feeling among others Gorkha Tribes like “Khambu ( Rai)”, “Gurung”, “Mangar”, “Newar”, “Khas (chhetri)”, “Baahun (Brahman)” and other tribes etc who followed same language culture and religious beliefs and all of them including “Tamangs” and “Limbus” come under “Bonbo” (worshipers of stones, river, trees, deities etc) and as such grave injustices have been done to these above other left out tribal communities. 

This matter were already discussed in the 2nd round tripartite review meeting on Memorandum of Settlement of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council dated 28th Jan 2005 at Round Table Conference Hall of Union Home Ministry under the chairmanship of Shri Dhirendra Singh, Union Home Secretary at New Delhi. 

I would, therefore on behalf of DGHC, request you to consider the above case for granting Scheduled Tribe status to all the members of the other left out Gorkha communities as a special case.

With Regards, Yours Sincerely, Subash Ghisingh, Administrator of DGHC.

When the politics of Tribalism started deepening its root in the hills of Darjeeling, Subash Ghisingh could clearly foresee the fragile crack within the gorkha communities, he could clearly sense the crack that would divided Gorkha communities into various categories like General, ST, SC and OBC’s; The Hill Tribes that were once unified as Indian Gorkha for a common goal of “Gorkhaland” a state that would provide their identity in India, is now seen dividing and willing to walk individually for the status of Scheduled Tribes in India. 

When the politics of tribalism started getting its momentum in Darjeeling hills; and by that time DGHC had emerged as a weak administrative setup having no real executive or legislative power, further Subash Ghisingh had realized that the grant of statehood was not forthcoming, however, strong constitutional guaranteed setup was required to fulfill the aspiration of Hill people. It was then we saw the political swing of “Sixth Schedule”, the swing that shifted the politics of Gorkha Hills, thus, adding the new terminology in politics of Darjeeling. 

He then advocated that all gorkha communities should be granted the status of Scheduled Tribe in India referring to the census of 1931 which had shown all gorkha community as “Backward Tribes” under the banner of “Hill Tribes” during the British Raj in India. Further he knew it clearly that, if Gorkhaland is to be achieved than all gorkhas should stand united at any cost, therefore, we could see the sharp shift of Ghisingh’s politics to Sixth Schedule, so that the Indian gorkha may “exist together” united in one banner of “Gorkha as a Tribe (ST)”. 

Technically to qualify for the status of Sixth Schedule the percentage of tribal community do plays the vital role, hence, he started urging all gorkha community to move towards tribalism, further he believed Darjeeling which was once a part of “Gorkha Kingdom” now “Nepal” promoted Hinduism and declared Nepal as a Hindu kingdom so as to keep their national unity intact, in a process of which all gorkha tribes happened to forget their original “Bonbo culture” and became more inclined towards the Hinduism. 

Hence he promoted the celebrations of Bonbo utsav, sansari puja, Jhakri puja every year, temples were made where only stones representation of gods and goddesses were kept, Jhakri were appointed as the priest in these temples, Iron Pillar were worshipped during vishwakarma Puja in chowrasta; though many thought it to be an idiotic act, however the sense of tribalism was essence of these act.

He used to say we cannot behave civilized and ask for the tribal status, we need to show it by our action, hence the crazy act of the Governor of WB seeking blessing from Jhakri and Boju devata was clearly seen in the inauguration ceremony of Nightingale Park in Darjeeling, during those days Union Ministers in Darjeeling were welcomed by tribal dance and blessed by Dhami Jhakris ! 

Moreover, if we closely see, we gorkhas, have complex culture and tribal character with our own practices, we recognize the existence of spirits and worship nature, believes in Boju Devata, Jhakri, Ban Jhakri,; we perform Nya ko puja, Udawle Ubawle, sansari puja, ban devi puja etc. we also have appetite of gundruk, kinima, ban tarul, ghar tarul, simal tarul, iskus-ko-jara, jar, tongba… such culture and religious practices are typically tribal in character, even the British did recognized the fact and declare people of Darjeeling as Hill tribes during British Raj.

He was also of the opinion that only facility given by tribal status will not help the community, as we can see majority of tribes and casts still struggling despite of their ST / SC status, hence, He demanded that the area of DGHC be brought under the Sixth Schedule of the constitution of India. The Sixth Schedule deals with the autonomous administration setup for tribal area with executive, legislative and judicial powers, moreover it is the special setup under the observation of President of India and also defined as state within the state. The councils under Sixth Schedule are the product of the Constitution of India, hence, it draws all its powers and functions from the Constitution itself. Had it been implemented in Darjeeling Hills it would have been 100 time better than DGHC or the present GTA both of which emerged from the state act of west Bengal legislative Assembly. 

However, special status of Fifth or Sixth Schedule of the constitution were directly applicable for all excluded and partially excluded areas of British Raj, and Darjeeling being partially excluded area under British raj till the time of independent should have come under the Fifth Schedule or otherwise Sixth Schedule with certain amendments in the constitution long time back in Independent India. 

Chronology of Administrative Setup Pre/Post - Independent and why Fifth or Sixth Schedule is Applicable for Darjeeling. 

Darjeeling was never directly governed by the Provincial government of Bengal, however in a sense it did shared the governor with Bengal. In fact Darjeeling was governed by special act under British India as British knew it clearly that these areas came to East India Company as per the Treaty of Sugowlee with Nepal (1815) and Treaty of Sinchula with Bhutan (1865), Moreover British felt that the gorkhas living in these areas required to be protected. 

Darjeeling was initially a "Non-Regulationdistrict / Area" where acts and regulations of the British India did not automatically apply in line with rest of the country, unless specifically extended.

In 1874 Darjeeling was declared “Scheduled District” which was subject to special laws and administrative procedure. 

In 1919 Darjeeling was declared "Backward Tract" and continued to be ruled by special law, the administration of the district was then vested to the Governor General in Council. Any Act of the Provincial Legislature (Bengal provinces) or all India acts did not apply to the tract, or shall apply subject to such exceptions or modifications as the Governor may think fit. 

In 1935, Darjeeling was declared “Partially Excluded” area, where Governor had a special responsibility for this area, no legislative enactment whether of the Federation or of the Province did apply unless the Governor so directs by a notification, this set up continued till the new constitution came into effect in 26 January 1950 for Independent INDIA 

1946 The Cabinet Mission, sent by the British Parliament under Sir Stafford Cripps made a public statement and also suggested for the formation of an Advisory Committee to work out a modus operandi in the constitutional arrangement for tribals of excluded and partially excluded area and to enable them to safeguard their ethnic identity and culture in a democratic way in Independent India. 

On 24th January, 1947 - Advisory Committee on fundamental rights, minorities and Tribal and Excluded Area was set up with Vallabhai Patel as the Chairman by the Constituent Assembly, two subcommittee was formed to take forward the work: 

1. North-East Frontier Tribal Areas and Assam Excluded & Partially Excluded Areas Sub-Committee: under Gopinath Bardoloi

2. Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (Other than Those in Assam) Sub-Committee: under A. V. Thakkar.

Based on the reports and recommendation of these committee Sixth Schedule emerged, where all excluded and partially excluded areas of Assam was incorporated in article 244(2) read with 275(1) of the constitution of India. However excluded and partially excluded areas other than Assam (rest of India) was incorporated in the Fifth Schedule in Art. 244(1) of the Constitution of India.
As per these schedule special Autonomous Administration setup and Tribal Advisory Council for self-governance was to be formed for the upliftment of tribes under the control of President through its representative the governor of state. 

8th August 1947 - INTERIM REPORT OF THE EXCLUDED AND PARTIALLY EXCLUDED AREAS (OTHER THAN ASSAM) SUB-COMMITTEE stated The Darjeeling District is shown to contain 141,301tribes out of a total population of 376,369 in 1941. The prominent community in Darjeeling is the Gurkha or Nepalese community which numbers about 2 1/2 lakhs. The Gurkha are not regarded as a backward tribe and the thirteenth schedule to the Govt. of India (LegislativeAssemblies) Order does not include Gurkha. Thus the committee decides Darjeeling need no longer be treated as partially excluded areas hence the special status given by British Raj was lost in Independent India. 

However, the fact that the Census of 1941 based on which the fate of hill tribes of Darjeeling was decided by Advisory Committee had some flaw on itself, as it had delisted the Tribes title of approximately 2,35,068 (62.45%) of the total population of Darjeeling Hill reducing the tribal population only to 37.54%. the reason for this de-listing have been due to the inclusion of mother tongue question in census and the census report being based on language and script among other criteria’s. It is believed that the majority of hill tribes were unaware of the consequence, moreover the sentimental attachment with Nepali language propelled them to mention Nepali as their mother language instead of their tribal dialect; as Nepali language happened to be derived from Sanskrit language hence the essence of tribalism was missing, which resulted to exclusion of majority of hill people from the backward tribe status. Further the word gorkha have been used very vaguely without seeing the history of hill tribes by advisory committee. 

In order to rectify the injustice done by Advisory Committee, Subash Ghisingh proposed for constitutionally recognition of the entire hill people into Scheduled Tribes category with reference to the Census of 1931, further he also demanded the DGHC be brought under the special administrative setup of sixth schedule with required amendments to the constitution. Please Note: The provision of Autonomous District / Regional Council is incorporated in the Sixth Schedule of constitution, moreover it also enjoyed comparatively greater power and autonomy than Fifth schedule of Constitution, however both the fifth and sixth schedule did emerged for the administrative setup of excluded and partially excluded areas and Darjeeling happened to be partially excluded. 

6th December 2005 - Memorandum of Settlement for Sixth Schedule was signed between Govt. of India, Govt. of West Bengal and Shri Subash Ghisingh, Administrator DGHC, for the creation of an autonomous self-governing Council under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, for the hill areas of Darjeeling District. 

16th March 2006 - The West Bengal Legislative Assembly adopted a Resolution recommending grant of Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling hill areas. 

30th November 2007 - Two Bills were introduced in the Lok Sabha The Sixth Schedule to the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2007 and the Constitution (One Hundred and Seventh Amendment) Bill 2007’

The Bills were referred to the Standing Committee on Home Affairs (Chairperson: Smt Sushma Swaraj)

28th February 2008: The Standing Committee on Home Affairs submitted its 129th Report:

The Bills seek to create an autonomous self-governing Council called the Gorkha Hill Council, Darjeeling (GHC) under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution. The GHC shall have legislative, administrative and financial powers in respect of specified subjects.
The Committee noted that two divergent views. The majority of the views were opposed to the Bill on various grounds and were in favor of Gorkhaland (a separate state). The official viewpoint stated that there would be agitation and chaos if the Bill was not passed.

The Committee could not verify the claims of the central and state governments since it could not visit the area and feel “the pulse of the people.” Therefore, relying on the official claims, the Committee recommended that both Bills be PASSED after certain amendments were made. It suggested that

(a) 33% of the seats in the GHC should be reserved for women; and 

(b) an appropriate number of seats should be reserved for Scheduled Castes in the GHC.

However, Govt. of India was not in a position to approve the bill, reason being the ongoing agitation led by Bimal Gurung, who opposed the Bill and demanded separate state of Gorkhaland. The bill remained pending in parliament till May 18, 2009 and finally lapsed automatically after 14th Lokh Sabha got dissolved. 

Unfortunately neither Sixth Schedule nor Gorkhaland were achieved, agitation led by GJMM went on for 3 more years and finally landed up signing an Agreement for GTA on 18 July 2011 at Pintail Village near Siliguri; a semi-autonomous administrative body enacted by state Act of West Bengal Legislative Assembly, Thus, Rejecting The Sixth Schedule of the constitution which was already tabled in the parliament of India. 

Now again we find ourselves standing in the same point of Political Crossroad, whom… we are to blame?

GNLF Mann Ghisingh to campaign to mobilise support for Sixth Schedule

8:48 AM
GNLF to campaign for Sixth Schedule tag

Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, Dec. 22: The GNLF today said its president Mann Ghisingh would visit every nook and corner of the hills from December 26 as part of a campaign to mobilise support for the inclusion of the region in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

The GNLF has also announced that the party will hold street corner meetings at places that Ghisingh will visit.

The announcement comes soon after Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung suspended his padayatra purportedly at the request of Prime Minister.

Mahendra Chhetri, the general secretary of the GNLF, today said: "Our president will start a campaign from Kurseong subdivision on December 26. To be more precise, he will be first touring the Mirik-Soureni-Panighatta-Sukna area and then come up to Tindharia-Sonada-Rangbull. The campaign will be to seek people's support for the hills to be brought under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution."

He added: "Street corner meetings will also be held at various places across the hills. Once the Kurseong leg is completed, similar visits will be made to various DGHC constituencies in Kalimpong and Darjeeling as well."
GNLF Mann Ghisingh to campaign to mobilise support for Sixth Schedule
Mann Ghisingh
The GNLF plans to complete the campaign in one month. "At the January-end, a public meeting will also be held in Darjeeling," said Chhetri.

Observers say the GNLF, whose 21-year-old rule in the hills was replaced by the Morcha in 2007, now believes Gurung's party is losing popular support.

"The objective of the campaign is to go to the people and tell them about the benefits of the Sixth Schedule status, which has legislative powers, unlike the GTA. Under the Sixth Schedule, there will be a constitutionally recognised body," said Chhetri.

Asked about the campaign, Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha, said: "The people of the hills have already rejected the Sixth Schedule status demand."

Source Telegraph

GNLF to intensify its agitation for Sixth Schedule

9:13 AM
The GNLF held a meeting in Darjeeling on Sunday to commemorate the signing of a memorandum of settlement by the Centre, state and former party president Subash Ghisingh on December 6, 2005, to bring the hills under the Sixth Schedule.

At the meeting, Bhanu Lama, the organising secretary of the GNLF, said the party would intensify its agitation to bring the hills under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

GNLF marks 6th Scheduled Accord Signing Day Samjhauta Divas
GNLF marks 6th Scheduled Accord Signing Day Samjhauta Divas

Democratic Front holds first public meeting in‪ Darjeeling‬ 

7:52 AM

The Democratic Front, a conglomeration of four political parties formed for restoration of democracy in the hills, held its first public meeting today in Darjeeling over various issues plaguing the region and lambasted the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and state government for turning a blind eye to those issues. The front picked out issues like the deteriorating law and order, undemocratic ways of the GJM and its insincerity towards the statehood demand including the apathy being shown by the state government in solving the Madan Tamang murder case.

The front’s members constitute the All India Gorkha League (AIGL), the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxist (CPRM), the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) and the Sikkim Darjeeling Ekikaran Manch (SDEM). Pratap Khati, the AIGL general secretary and the DF convener, alleged the GJM of being involved in corruption and anti-national activities and demanded a probe. “From where is the GJM getting funds to run the party? Bimal Gurung is not a millionaire and does not have any known source of income. The central government should start a probe in this regard,” he said. Khati also pointed to the mysterious disappearance of Sanjay Thulung, the GJM central leader and Sabhasad accused of being involved in the Assam arms haul case earlier this year. “As per police investigations, Thulung is involved in anti-national activities. GJM leaders frequently visit the Northeast, which is the hub of insurgents. Although the GJM refutes this, but nothing happens without Gurung’s directives,” alleged the AIGL general secretary.

The DF convener also raked up the Madan Tamang murder issue saying the state government should initiate a judicial commission to investigate and get to the bottom of the case. “He (Tamang) was the only voice of democracy in the hills and he sacrificed his life to uphold it. However, nothing has been done by the state government to provide justice to the slain leader’s family. We demand the case be handled by a Special Investigation Team,” he said.

Tamang, who was the AIGL president, was hacked to death on May 21, 2010 in broad daylight in Darjeeling while overseeing preparations for the party’s public meeting. Investigating agencies have named several GJM leaders and activists in their charge sheet. Some of the leaders thus named have filed for bail for which the next hearing is scheduled on November 17. Govind Chhetri, spokesperson for the CPRM. alleged that the GJM and the BJP had betrayed the statehood demand. “We elected Jaswant Singh and SS Ahluwalia of the BJP as MPs but they have not worked for the statehood demand. The GJM president has embarked on a padyatra for Gorkhaland but it is only eyewash, to confuse the people,” he said.

Biren Lama of the GNLF, on the other hand, advocated for bringing the hills under the ambit of the Sixth Schedule, which he said would solve all existing problems. “We want the hills to be brought under the Sixth Schedule. And this is why the GJM’s demand for tribal status for various communities of the hills now has started,” he said. The front, however, did not announce its future political programmes saying it would do so after a meeting of its senior leaders in the days to come. 

Via: EOIC, pic: Himalaya Darpan

GNLF Posters Explaining 6th Scheduled Benefits Across Kalimpong

9:00 AM
GNLF kalimpong branch commitee organised an event of postering for people to make them aware of Sixth Schedule and it's benifits. Along with that they also tied party flag in various parts of Kalimpong town.

Reporting to media Mr Dipanker Lama talked about the benefits and values that is comprised in Sixth Schedule and he also quoted that "it's time for the people to realize the truth and understand the benefits of Sixth and also to save our hills from breaking apart, he added that they have stuck the poster in every part of Kalimpong and have requested people to read and understand it"

Source TheDC

Gorkhaland, Loyalty, Defiance, and Treachery

10:16 AM
Loyalty, Defiance, and Treachery 

Writes Upendra for TheDC

Darjeeling is a small place, but it’s a place full of intrigue – “syanu tara bisalu thau” as we say in Nepali; and what happened this past week, is indicative of the “bishalu” nature of our people. Perhaps it is this “bishalu” nature of the people living here, which has prevented us and continues to prevent us from achieving our one and only goal – Gorkhaland.

Right from the demand for “Gorkhastan” by the communists, to the demands of “Gorkhaland” by GNLF and GJM, we have always managed to find detractors within our own selves. Be it the CPIM [now CPRM] during 1986, to TMC supporters currently, the most vocal critics of Gorkhaland have always been a section or the other of the hill people.

While the world sings paeans about “Gorkha loyalty,” it is surprising, shocking and disheartening to note that the Gorkhas themselves have never been loyal to each other.

As is made apparent in the way three MLAs elected from our hills resigned: Mr. Trilok Dewan resigned from both the post and the party, Dr. Rohit Sharma resigned from the post and remained with the party, while Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri retained the post and resigned from the party. There were four possible options and our MLAs did not disappoint us, they chose three out of the four and showed the world how very divided the Gorkhalis actually are.

However, behind this division lies the story of loyalty, defiance, and treachery.

Loyalty is a rare virtue, and even though the word “loyalty” is very often used in politics, it is seldom understood, or given the due respect it deserves. When it comes to “loyalty” it can be seen from four angles, 1) Loyalty to the people 2) Loyalty to the cause 3) Loyalty to the party and 4) Loyalty to self.

When it comes to the politicians in Darjeeling, more often than not, loyalty has more or less remained confined to the last two – loyalty to self and the political party one is associated with, or hopes to associate with.

As far as the cause – Gorkhaland is concerned, there are those who overtly support the demand, but once out of the public eyes, they do not care for it one way or the other. The three Darjeeling MLAs who resigned recently from either the party or the post, till date did not make a single statement in the Bengal legislative assembly in favour of Gorkhaland. All three of them were happy being MLAs and the CAUSE did not matter to them.

Almost all our politicians have deceived, lied, cheated and made a fool of the people, so it is safe to state that their loyalty towards people is zero. However, amongst the three, as far as we are aware, Dr. Rohit Sharma has done the most for the people.

He raised the issue of non-inclusion of Nepali in WBCS mains in the assembly, he raised the issue of forming SSB in the hills, and he has helped over 100 critically ill patients with finding resources for their treatment and payment of medical bills. Even though he is an MLA from Kurseong, we are witness to him helping Jyotika (from Darjeeling) and getting Rs 1 Lakh sanctioned for her treatment, when Darjeeling MLA Mr. Trilok Dewan was nowhere to be found. We are also witness to Dr. Sharma extending help to those from Darjeeling who needed help in Delhi. He has bought ambulances for his constituents and assisted them when the landslides struck. As recently as August of 2015, Dr. Sharma and GTA tourism Secretary Mr. Sonam Bhutia helped the hill students from Darjeeling who are currently studying at Jadavpur University and provided them the Gorkha Bhawan hall for a token fee of Rs 500, while the same hall had demanded Rs 20000 for 8 hours use last year [Details:].
Loyalty, Defiance, and Treachery
Poem via: Ashim Rai Chamling Malekungcha
So as far as I am concerned, I definitely rate Dr. Rohit Sharma higher in terms of loyalty towards the people. Perhaps he could have done more, but he did the most amongst the three.

There is a certain charm in being a rebel. It takes guts and also a great deal of courage to try and swim against the current. However, it helps to be a rebel for a cause, and sadly the two MLAs who have dared to show their defiance against what they term as “diktat” chose their MLA SEATS as the CAUSE worth defying for, instead of Gorkhaland.

I respect the fact that both Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri and Mr. Trilok Dewan have resigned from GJM in defiance of the “party diktat.” After resigning both have highlighted how “suffocating the atmosphere was in GJM,” both have stated how “GJM would not listen to them,” both have stated how “their voices were never heard.”

However, I have a question for both these gentlemen – Sir, why were you guys silent all this while? What stopped you from speaking out against this “diktat” and “suffocating environment” earlier?

In Darjeeling, every thinking and educated person detests GJM, and even GJM supporters are aware of that fact, so why did you guys not get out of the “suffocating” environment and inform the people? Why did you wait for till when you were asked to resign, to voice your dissent?

Mr. Trilok Dewan does get the benefit of doubt. Perhaps it was a late bout of conscience hitting him or a case of his ego repeatedly being bruised, whatever his reasons were, his resignation from both the party and the post absolves him of any selfishness on his part.

Before resigning from his Legislative assembly post Dr. Rohit Sharma entered the hall with a “We Want Gorkhaland” t-shirt, and shouted slogans for Gorkhaland and freedom of self-administration inside the assembly, and then he resigned.

While GJM supporters see bravery in his action and site it as an act of defiance against the tyrannical Bengal government, I see political gimmick. Though it is easy to respect the fact that he dared to raise his voice for Gorkhaland inside Bengal assembly, I wish he had done so on the 1st day of every legislative session, instead of on his last day.

So when it comes to defiance, even though I would rate Mr. Trilok Dewan higher than Dr. Rohit Sharma – sadly both their actions are passionately ineffective. However, Dr. Harka Bahadur is a class apart; his defiance is much driven by his self-interest above all, which leads us to the third category.

I have always felt that our politicians have so much to learn from the Bengali politicians. Their fierce loyalty to each other when it comes to defending a “collective cause” is unparalleled and something that we should all want to emulate the most.

Till date, I haven’t seen or heard a single main stream Bengali politician rushing in to support the formation of Gorkhaland state. Bengali social leaders, academics, fringe politicians and common people have supported separate state for the Gorkhas, but till today no main-stream Bengali politician has supported the Gorkhaland statehood.

In contrast, look at us, we are divided amongst ourselves so much that we not only have a plethora of demands, but we also have treacherous individuals amongst our midst who would not give two hoot to decrying the demand for Gorkhaland, if the payment is right.

From demanding 6th Scheduled (GNLF), to demanding Sikkim merger (GRC), to demanding Union Territory (Hill Congress), to demanding Autonomous Administration (CPIM), to demanding Development boards (selected communities), to demanding Development (Hill TMC), to demanding Separate district for Kalimpong (Dr. Harka), to demanding Gorkhaland (GJM, CPRM etc). Almost every single political party has their own personal cause that they are championing and trying to impose on the people.

We are hardly 15 lakhs here in Darjeeling, Terai and Dooars region, and yet look at the causes that have divided us. While all the Bengali politicians speak with one voice – “NO” – against Gorkhaland, we keep on sending multiple messages. Perhaps even the center is confused and tired of our shenanigans.

So the greatest form of treachery being committed on our people is perpetuated by our politicians, who are ably supported by us.

However, let us look at our three MLAs and see who has been more treacherous. Dr. Rohit Sharma has remained loyal to his party, which right now represents the majority in Darjeeling, so he can be called treacherous, only if we are willing to blame his entire party of treachery towards the people. GJM as a whole has undoubtedly failed the people of Darjeeling, so Dr. Sharma is definitely guilty by association. But as an individual he has remained loyal to the party and the hill cause.

Mr. Trilok Dewan who yesterday said that only “drivers” and “contractors” were running the GJM, also said, “What Gorkha society benefited over the constant conflict with Bengal government? Was it beneficial for our region to have agitations in regular basis? Does not it affect common people? GTA is raised in good times and only in difficulties the issue of Gorkhaland is voiced.” He is absolutely correct, and he is the prime example of how people voice “Gorkhaland” whenever they are put in a difficult spot.

Till Date, Mr. Trilok Dewan has not uttered a single word on Gorkhaland in any of the Bengal legislative meetings. Till date, he did not raise the concern of the talks only being confined to the GTA and not exactly Gorkhaland. But after resigning, he has plenty to talk about on what went wrong. Isn’t it a bit hypocritical of him to use Gorkhaland after he was put in spot and not before that?

However, I am hopeful that his revelation will shake things up in Darjeeling, and will help in ushering in a new era of fairness and openness in how politics is conducted in Darjeeling. We are hopeful that Mr. Dewan will release the murky details of GJM politics and help in cleansing our hills of the politics of lies, deceit and hypocrisy.

In terms of treachery, however the undisputed winner is Dr. Harka Bahadur. Despite all his claims to innocence, Dr. Harka has time and again supported Mamata and her actions. He has released anti-Gorkhaland statements and sought favours with TMC. Thus it comes as no surprise that today Dr. Harka Bahadur is running from one Bengali TV channel to another vilifying GJM, GTA and even Gorkhaland.

Responding to the question on Development Boards, Dr. Harka said, “the Boards are doing much better job than the GTA… so why complain?” Perhaps it’s true (facts suggest otherwise), but it is also indicative of the fact that he supports the formation of such Jat-based boards which majority of us hill folks see as the 1st wedge placed by Bengal for dividing and ruling over the hill people.

Today he claims to champion the cause of the people of Kalimpong, but we all remember him missing from action when landslide struck Kalimpong [details:]. In fact, Lingsheka region in Kalimpong is still cut off from the rest of Darjeeling – so here is the question, where is the love Mr. MLA? If you were really concerned about the people of Kalimpong, wouldn’t you have made that a priority?

Dr. Harka says he will fight for making Kalimpong a district, well that is a worthy cause indeed. However as one of our colleagues from Kalimpong Mr. Dk Waiba writes, “फेसबुकभरी कालेबुङलाई जिल्ला बनाउनुपर्छ भन्ने कुराको चर्चा छ। चर्चाका केन्द्रविन्दुमा छन् गोजमुमो पार्टीको राजीनामा दिनुपर्ने फरमानलाई विरोध गरेर पार्टीबाटै राजीनामा दिने विधायक डा. हर्कबहादुर छेत्री। कालेबुङलाई जिल्ला बनाउनु अति राम्रो कुरा हो। प्रशासनिक सुविधाको निम्ति अलग जिल्ला बनिनु पर्छ। यसको समर्थक म पनि हुँ। घोषणा नै गरिदिएँ। तर यहाँ यत्तिखेर मलाई के लागिरहेको छ भने यसपल्ट कालेबुङलाई जिल्ला बनाउने पहल हुने हो होइन त्यसभन्दा अघि सिलगडी जिल्ला बनिएर दार्जीलिङ जिल्लाबाट सधैँको निम्ति चुँढिएर जाने सम्भावना भने मैले देखेको छु। हामी हल्ला धेर गर्छौँ तलकाहरू काम धेर गर्छन अनि चुपचाप काम गर्नेहरूले कालेबुङ जिल्ला बनिन अघिनै सिलगडी जिल्ला बनाएर लैजादा हामी हिस्रिकै पर्छौँ अनि त्यतिबेला फेरि एकचोटी नेतालाई सराप्छौँ। प्रशासनिक सुविधाको निम्ति कालेबुङ मात्रै किन जिल्ला बनाउनु ? खर्साङलाई पनि अलग्गै जिल्ला बनाऊँ... कि कसो ? तीनवटै महकुमा जिल्लामा परिणत भएपछि सबै महकुमाका जनतालाई सुविधा हुने होइन र ? जहाँ खण्डहरूको संख्या बड्ने छ, पञ्चायतको संख्या बढ्ने छ। तब सबै ठाउँका जनताले प्रशासनकि सुविधा पाउन सजिलो हुनेछ”।

Dr. Harka is one of the key proponents of GJM as well as GTA. Never once in the past has he voiced his opinion against either, however, today he is busy pointing out all the flaws in GTA, he is also busy decrying GJM. Today he sees virtue in Jat-specific Development boards, and virtue in the benevolence of Bengal and Mamata. It is said that a council will soon be formed which will control all the development boards, and Dr. Harka will supposedly head that council. Perhaps that is what inspired him to rebel, and not really the Kalimpong cause.

Francis Bacon once said, “the zeal which begins with hypocrisy must conclude in treachery; at first it deceives, at last it betrays”

It is easy to see who the hypocrite is, as his betrayal is evident for the world to witness today.

Originally published here

Kaman Singh Ramudamu Statue Unveiled - Man against Ghising's Sixth Schedule

9:57 AM
Vivek Chhetri

GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung today unveiled the statue of Kaman Singh Ramudamu, the first hill leader to speak out against GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh's Sixth Schedule demand in 2006.
Gurung unveils the statue of Kaman Singh Ramudamu in Darjeeling on Thursday.
Gurung unveils the statue of Kaman Singh Ramudamu in Darjeeling on Thursday.
As the president of the All India Nepali Schedule Caste Association, Ramudamu had led a rally of hundreds of his supporters at Sukhiapokhri, 28km from Darjeeling, on March 19, 2006, to oppose Ghisingh's decision to accept the Sixth Schedule status.

Ramudamu opposed the status, as there was no provision for reservation for the SC community in the new administrative arrangement mooted for the hills.

"He was lion-hearted and it needed courage to come out in the open then. He was an old man, otherwise, he would have gone missing as such was the political atmosphere then," Gurung said after unveiling the statue in front of the Raj Bhawan on the Mall Road here.

Today was Ramudamu's 86th birth anniversary. The statue was erected by the SC association.

Ramudamu, who died on July 17, 2008, was a retired divisional account officer of the Indian Railways.

He had also translated a section of the Indian Constitution pertaining to the rights and privileges of the scheduled caste community from English into Nepali.

According to the memorandum of settlement signed by the Centre, state and the GNLF in 2005, a new administrative arrangement was to be put in place in the hills under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

The Gorkha Hill Council, Darjeeling, that was supposed to replace the then Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), was to have 33 seats, of which 10 were to be reserved for Scheduled Tribes and three for other communities. Five members of the council were to be nominated by the governor.

Ramudamu took on Ghisingh as not a single seat was reserved for the SC community. "When the STs can get 10 seats, I see no reason why the SCs cannot get three," Ramudamu had said.

He was rooting for three seats as the SC community formed around nine per cent of the hill population.

Gurung was with Ghisingh's GNLF when Ramudamu came out in the open against the then undisputed hill leader. Interestingly, when Gurung formed the Morcha later, he made Ramudamu the vice-president of the outfit.

Gurung today said: "When I first approached Kaman Singh Ramudamu (to join the Morcha), he had refused stating that he was basically a social worker working for the uplift of his community and it would not be right for him to be involved with a political party. He, however, changed his mind and decided to join the party to espouse the statehood cause."

Ramudamu had presided over the meeting where the Morcha was formed on October 7, 2007. Gurung and Ramudamu together unfurled the Morcha flag.

"I have come across many people. Ramudamu was one who was not interested in political benefits but was only concerned about the welfare of his community and the people of the region," Gurung said today.

Source: Telegraph

Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh denies support for the 6th Schedule

12:11 AM
BGP (Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh), denying that they would support GNLF if they pursued sixth Schedule, made it clear that the Parisangh remains unchanged in its view that only a separate state would solve the identity crisis of the Gorkhas scattered in India.
Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP) logo
Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP) logo
Speaking at a press conference BGP Nation Spokesperson, R. Moktan, had credited Late. Subash Ghising as being the person who was responsible for demanding ‘Gorkhaland’ statehood for the Indian Gorkhas, and thus proposed to provide documentary support to GNLF if they pursued the 6th Schedule status. Read Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh to support GNLF for 6th Schedule

However, Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh on a social network published "For those of you wondering whether Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh is supporting the 6th Schedule status for Darjeeling, we want to make it clear that the Parisangh remains unchanged in its view that only a separate state will concretise the political identity of the Indian Gorkhas. The comments that appeared in the media in the past days were the personal remarks of a Parisangh functionary and should not be taken as the Parisangh's official stand. Parisangh believes only a separate state will resolve the crisis of political identity that confronts the Gorkhas of India."

Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh to support GNLF for 6th Schedule

9:39 AM
Kalimpong, February 3: Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP)Promises Support to GNLF if They Pursue 6th Schedule Status for Darjeeling Hills
Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh to support GNLF for 6th Schedule
R. Moktan
In a bizarre twist of political turn, the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh Official which projects itself as this body with pan-India presence has assured the Gorkha National Liberation Front under Mohan Ghising of porviding “documentary support” if the GNLF decides to pursue 6th Schedule status for the Darjeeling region.

Speaking at a press conference BGP Nation Spokesperson credited Late. Subash Ghising as being the person who was responsible for demanding ‘Gorkhaland’ statehood for the Indian Gorkhas, and thus proposed to provide documentary support to GNLF if they pursued the 6th Schedule status.

Source: DT

GNLF held public meeting in Darjeeling to revive the party activity in the hills

8:02 AM
The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)on Sunday said it was losing patience with the Centre for the failure of the latter to bring the Darjeeling hills under the ambit of the sixth schedule of the Constitution about which an agreement had been signed in December 2005.
GNLF adamant on sixth schedule for hills, holds public meeting in Darjeeling
GNLF adamant on sixth schedule for hills, holds public meeting in Darjeeling
In the first public meeting held by GNLF in some time in Darjeeling town, senior GNLF leader Mahendra Chhetri said : “We ask the Centre to be sincere as they are also party to the December 6, 2005 agreement that was signed by our leader and the state government. We have respected
the agreement so far but we may not”.

The objective of the meeting was  to revive the party activity in the hills and to boost the morale of supporters, after the Lok Sabha poll debacle. The party supporters to the meeting had come mostly from Kalimpong and Kurseong sub-divisions.

In 2005 GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh had signed an agreement to bring the hills under the sixth schedule. However, the move was met with resistance among the people and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) riding the wave managed to get the bill that was placed in Parliament revoked.
The GNLF however is adamant that implementing sixth schedule is the only plausible solution to the existing Hills problems. “Our president took up the sixth schedule issue because it will bind the people. It was his foresight which even the GJM has taken up now as they too are demanding giving tribal status to the Gorkha community of the hills,” asserted Chhetri.

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had announced the state government would recommend giving tribal status to 10 hill communities in the run up to the Lok Sabha election. GJM party has also
demanded tribal status to 11 Gorkha communities which has been endorsed by the BJP it political ally.
The GNLF central committee leader also raked up the Assam arrest incident and said people were feeling uneasy and insecure. “We want the government’s intelligence department to tell us who are behind the arms supply and for what reason. It must not forget the Burdwan case. We in the hills after the incident are feeling insecure,” said Chhetri.

GNLF central committee leader from Kalimpong  Maurice Kalikotey, said: “There is a political vacuum in the hills and people are confused and restless. Our meeting today is to tell the people that we (GNLF) are here for them. Also we want to give a morale booster to our supporters and strengthen the party”.

GNLF has kept a low profile after the rise of GJM in the hills. Matters have been compounded with Ghisingh’s health condition has deteriorated and he is presently admitted in a Delhi hospital.

Source: EOI

GTA and DGHC will not fulfill the Shahids' aspirations - CPRM

10:17 AM
The Darjeeling hill region has been observing ‘Shahid Diwas’ on July 27 since the fateful day in 1986 when several activists of the separate statehood movement fell victim to police bullets. On the eve of this historic day, the Communist Party of India (Revolutionary) has put posters across Kalimpong town reminding the public that only a separate state of Gorkhaland will realise the dreams of the innocent martyrs.

The CPRM posters point out that just by setting up autonomous administrative councils such as the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration and crying hoarse demanding the passage of the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling will not fulfill the aspirations of those who sacrificed their very lives. Even after the occurrence of such a sad incident, it is unfortunate that people are still sticking with setups such as the GTA and DGHC including the Sixth Schedule, scream the posters.

CPRM posters pasted all across Kalimpong town Saturday.
CPRM posters pasted all across Kalimpong town Saturday.
Observing Shahid Diwas each year on July 27 is just fanfare and an obligation that is not required as the gatherings hold nothing of significance, asserts Kalimpong CPRM unit president Kishore Pradhan. Not a single political setup in the hills is truly indebted to the sacrifice made by so many people nearly three decades ago, he said. Regional parties are busy making efforts to strengthen their party activities and debating on whom should fall in line to climb the party hierarchy instead of galvanising into a united front to take forward the statehood movement. According to Pradhan, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) brass has totally failed to give a political shape to the statehood movement and are just putting up a façade.

Further, CPRM secretary Mohan Paudel alleged the real aspiration of the hill people has not found the right direction given the narrow and self-centred interests of the powers that be in the region. He said it is despicable to say the least that the sacrifice made by 1,200 people in 1986 during the GNLF movement and the seven lives that were willingly sacrificed have not been repaid their rightful dues. Observing Shahid Diwas by paying floral tributes and making inflammatory speeches will not give peace to the departed souls, but what truly will is the earnest and sincere efforts by the individuals who have the wherewithal to sacrifice their hearts and souls to the statehood cause.

Source: EOI

GNLF to hit street with slogan ‘DGHC pharkau, Darjeeling bachau’

8:55 AM
The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) is expected to hit the streets of the Darjeeling hills next week with the slogan ‘DGHC pharkau, Darjeeling bachau’ (Reinstate the DGHC to save Darjeeling).
GNLF to hit street with slogan ‘DGHC pharkau, Darjeeling bachau’
GNLF to hit street with slogan ‘DGHC pharkau, Darjeeling bachau’
Emerging out of its silence, the GNLF plans to press stage a number of programmes across the hills demanding the reinstatement of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, a constitutionally recognised autonomous body, until the Sixth Schedule status is granted to the hills.

The GNLF contends that the GTA is not a constitutional body unlike the DGHC. Rallies will be staged across urban areas of the Darjeeling hills on Saturday mornings, while tea garden areas will do likewise on Sunday evenings, said GNLF sources.

They said the programmes have been chalked-out by the party’s senior leadership and the various branch committees will soon host their respective meetings and officially flag-off the programmes. The GNLF will also write to the administration seeking permission for the programmes.

Advocating for the DGHC and the Sixth Schedule status for the Darjeeling hills, GNLF activists distributed pamphlets Wednesday in Kalimpong. The party’s central leadership will also write to the central and state governments on the issues.

The GNLF says until the Sixth Schedule bill is passed in both houses of Parliament, the DGHC should be reinstated in the Darjeeling hills. This constitutional body had been considered and agreed upon on August 22, 1988 in a tripartite agreement between the central and state governments and the GNLF. The party further asserts that only through the Sixth Schedule will the land and identity of the Gorkha community be secure. 

Source: EOI

GNLF demands restoration of DGHC until Sixth Schedule

9:47 AM
The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) has demanded the restoration of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) until the Sixth Schedule is implemented in the hills. The GNLF, putting forth the demand to the central and state government today, conducted an awareness campaign in Kalimpong by distributing handouts. The party’s women wing, Gorkha National Women’s Organisation, had taken the initiative and distributed the handouts to people across the town as part of the campaign.

GNWO members distributing the handouts in Kalimpong on Wednesday.
GNWO members distributing the handouts
 in Kalimpong on Wednesday.
The Kalimpong GNWO leaders including Sangay Lamu Sherpa and Mary Shakuntala Rai along with other members were part of the campaign. The leaders said the awareness campaign was part of the party’s political activity to demand the implementation of the Sixth Schedule and restoration of DGHC. “Apart from distributing handouts, the party will also conduct poster campaigns and peaceful rallies in the town,” said GNWO Kalimpong unit president, Sangay Lamu Sherpa.

The GNLF handout has portrayed the DGHC as an organisation with "real constitutional autonomous power' with high potential, stating the council should be returned back to the hills honorably without any delay.

Source: EOI

GNLF demands revival of the DGHC

9:12 AM
Emerging out of its self-imposed silence, the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) is all set to press for its various demands and stage programmes across the hills. Among the party’s principal demands is the revival of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), a constitutionally approved autonomous body, till the Sixth Schedule status is achieved.

Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)
Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)
Talking to reporters today, GNLF Kurseong branch spokesperson Daya Dewan said the party held its branch meeting here Thursday afternoon where members were updated on upcoming strategies approved of recently by the senior and central leaderships.

He said it has been decided the GNLF will demand the revival of the DGHC until the Sixth Schedule Bill is passed in both Houses of Parliament. Dewan noted the DGHC was a constitutional body set up on August 22, 1988 through a tripartite agreement between the central and state governments and the GNLF. He added the current Gorkhaland Territorial Administration is an unconstitutional body and it should be scrapped at the earliest.

Further, the GNLF leader said the party has plans to hold meetings and other political programmes across the hills from the last week of this month to press for its demands. The central leadership of the party will also interact with both the central and state governments over the matter.

“We have already published pamphlets and posters on the issue and they will be pasted all across the hills within this week,” informed Dewan, adding only the Sixth Schedule status would secure the land and identity of the Gorkha community.

The GNLF had supported TMC candidate Bhaichung Bhutia from Darjeeling in the Lok Sabha polls to promote its demand.

Source: EOI

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