Showing posts with label schedule tribe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label schedule tribe. Show all posts

ST Panel Announcement: A Googly for JAP

8:46 AM
Writes: Binu Sundas

As the election date approaches closer, it is becoming easier for the people of the hills to make their choice. Only the 'candle' seems to be burning for the people other symbols seems to be in the dark. This is due to insanity prevailing in the 'party of intellectuals.' Why I say insanity among them is because of their political gimmick. To gain benevolence from the 'dark invisible hand which dictates terms to the party leaders,' (as their recently resigned AGS Mr. Topden Bhutia says), they have contemplated to formally challenge the formation of a panel to oversee the demand of including communities from among the Gorkha community in the Scheduled Tribe List of the Central Government. JAP's decision to challenge this as a violation of code of conduct is not in favour of the progress of the people. This may have been a case of violation of code of conduct but they could easily have ignored thinking the larger good it can do to the people. If they genuinely wanted the welfare of the people then they would not be contemplating to challenge this panel formation and dampening the spirit of the people.

When the formation of JAP was announced their manifesto declared that they will work towards the overall development of the people. This inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe list will be a step for such a development they had envisaged for the people of the hills. So why are they opposed to this panel and effort of the GJM? They are opposed to this idea because they cannot derive any credit from it and all the credit will go to GJM, which will enhance the reputation of GJM and dent their nonexistent status at this crucial juncture. For a mere political gain over the rival they are ready to hurt the sentiments of the public, the very public whom they are requesting to vote in their favour. This reflects the arraignment of the recently resigned AGS of the party, that JAP is dictatorial and does not have any transparency. The repercussion of this will be that the design of the 'dark hand' of Didi will not succeed in the hills and therefore the intellectuals will have to do a lot of explaining to their patrons.
JAP is in a catch 22 situation, if they support the formation of the panel and thereby the inclusion of the communities in the ST list then they will have to face the ire of Didi and if they do not then that of the public. The intellectual rather chose to face the ire of the people. Very interestingly, Dr H B Chettri has shown much confidence in the state government, he says that "the important thing in the order is that the committee has to consult ‘respective state governments,’" implicitly expressing that the ball will finally be in the court of his patrons. Thereby meaning, vote for me or otherwise his patrons will not allow the realisation of the tribal status. So will we let this happen? His confidence comes from the fact that he is well aware that the Bengal Government does not want any welfare of the Gorkha people and will try to create obstacles for the inclusion of these communities in the ST list. Not stating explicitly he is saying vote for TMC and JAP candidates otherwise this tribal status can be withheld.

To gain the confidence of the people it would had been better if JAP too had welcomed the decision. It would had done them a world of good had they applauded the declaration. But personal ambitions, which is directly proportional to the compassion of Didi has stopped them from doing so. If, H.B.Chettri as a proclaimed leader of the people of the hills, cannot stand against the malevolent design of Didi, how can we believe him that he will in the future do good to and for the people.
The same thing has also been reiterated by the hill TMC. This proves that the coordination between JAP and hill TMC is perfectly harmonious. This further proves that they are the one and the same. They are there only to implement the desires of Didi and make personal gains. In such a situation it is important for the people to understand the situation and not support them. JAP and GNLF are working in disguise to undo the years of struggle people and the region has witnessed for the creation of Gorkhaland, break the unity of the Gorkhas and thereby again make us the subservient, oppressed and exploited and unquestioning citizens. Better sense has prevailed among the ABGL leadership that they have withdrawn the support to TMC candidates. It is hoped that the authorities of the different Development Boards also see the benefit of the larger goal and not support the TMC in their scheduled meeting.

This election is a testing time for the Gorkhas. This election is the time when we are being plotted against by our own people, not by choice but by design. We have a great chance of bringing about change in our daily lives. With a friendly party leading the central government, who is also trying to establish their foundation in Bengal and is in alliance with GJM, a good result for GJM will do wonders for the development and welfare of the place and the people. This can only be ascertained by the people, by making the right choice.

[Binu Sundas (Ph.D, JNU)
New Delhi]

Via DT

Scheduled Tribe to Gorkhas will lend more power to BJP in Darjeeling Hill

8:19 AM
Apr 9 2016 In the midst of the assembly elections, the Centre has taken a bow in the direction of an ethnic segment with its decision to accord the status of Scheduled Tribe to as many as eleven Gorkha groups in West Bengal and Sikkim. In effect, the Government has conceded a major demand of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. The BJP government’s move is arguably intended to undercut the influence of the ruling party in West Bengal where the Hills go to the polls on 17 April. Small wonder that the “Centre’s order” has been greeted by the GJM as a “tight slap on state policy”. The swipe was obviously against the setting up of separate development boards for different hill tribes, indeed the state government’s public policy plank that the GJM has debunked as “divide and rule”. Beyond that subjective reflection, the morcha must concede that Mamata Banerjee’s decision to put in place the Gorkha Territorial Authority was an attempt to address a volatile issue that has been festering for exactly three decades. It envisages a measure of self-rule, short of statehood. Sad to reflect, the likes of Bimal Gurung are yet to initiate an earnest effort to give the GTA experiment a try. The decision on ST status for Gorkhas will almost certainly lend more power to the elbow of the BJP in Darjeeling, which in 2014 had elected the party to the Lok Sabha.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung
during BJP election campaign
The GJMM is known to play the political card to suit its convenience. “Our alliance with the BJP is slowly bearing fruit,” was Mr Gurung’s immediate response, couched in “thank you” letters to Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, and the tribal affairs minister, Jual Oram. As critical as the societal underpinning has been the calculated timing of the decision that was announced in Delhi 48 hours before the first phase of the elections in the predominantly tribal belt of Junglemahal and a fortnight ahead of the vote in a restive and ethnically sensitive region of West Bengal.

Predictably, Sikkim has welcomed the move as a “step towards correction of a historical injustice”. The initiative to fix the ST tag on eleven Gorkha groups would have raised no cavil had the Centre not been so impervious to similar demands raised by at least 100 hill tribes in Odisha, Assam, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand. The tribes do expect a measure of uniformity in according the ST status, and the Centre’s promptitude in Darjeeling needs to be mirrored in the treatment in other states as well. Not least because certain class groups had been “scheduled” as hill tribes in the 1930 census, but were somehow not included in the list of STs after Independence. Others had lost the status as they had migrated to other states. Regretfully, the Centre’s calibrated approach has been selective.

Via The Statesman

Subash Ghisingh advocated for Scheduled Tribe status to whole Gorkha community

8:06 PM
Shri Subash Ghisingh always advocated that whole Gorkha community should be granted the status of Scheduled Tribe in India as per the census of 1931 of British Raj in India, which had shown all Gorkha community as “Tribes” under the banner of “Hill Tribes”. Further he knew it clearly that, if Gorkhaland is to be achieved in coming days, than, all Gorkhas communities should stand-up unitedly at any cost, therefore, he came up with his political strategy of Sixth schedule & Schedule Tribe for all gorkahs, so that the Indian Gorkhas may “exist together” united in one banner of “Gorkha as a Tribe (ST)”.

Subash Ghisingh advocated for Scheduled Tribe status to whole Gorkha community

His Letter to the National Commission for ST:

D.O. No. 154 CHA/LK/ DGHC Date :- 9th April 2005

Sri Kunwar Singh 
Hon’ble Chairman National Commission for ST
Govt of India, New Delhi.

Dear Sir Singh,

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

Followed by:.......

Date: 1st June, 2005 .............

To : The Hon’ble Justice Ram Surat Singh (Rtd)
Chairperson, National Commission for Backward Classes 
Ministry of social justice & empowerment 
Government of India New Delhi:

Sub: Pray for conversion into the Tribal Status of all the gorkha hill tribes as recognized by the then British Govt. of India in 1931

Where he writes about the necessary to convert the whole people of OBC and other non OBC community into ST category explaining the history of hill tribes of Darjeeling district during British Raj of India

Date: 13th December 2007................

To: Shri Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, 
Hon’ble Chief Minister – West Bengal

He writes about the burning issue of Hill tribes of Darjeeling stating that ……...................... before 1956 all hill tribe’s people of Darjeeling were happy and there was no any enmity among each other, But it was unfortunately smashed and destroyed after 1956 when the hill tribes of Darjeeling were divided into three categories viz Scheduled Tribe, Scheduled Cast and Non Scheduled Tribes. At that time the ignorant hill tribes’ people of Darjeeling could not understand the exact meaning and its consequences of the above unwanted and merciless division of three categories. Actually the above unholy division of the hill tribes became like a slow poison for them and their future generation.

………………………………… Therefore, I would like to request you for taking the above matter seriously from the side of West Bengal Government and also request you to secure again the original tribal status to the above victimized tribal left out communities of DGHC areas, like ‘Khambu (Rai), [which includes Dhimal, Maajhi, Dewan (Yakha), Sunuwar (Mukhia), Gainay], Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Thami, Bahun, Khas [which includes Chetri, Thakuri, Gharti, Saneshi, Bhujel, (khawas), Jogi], Kami, Damai, Sark, Bedi, etc all of whom were already within the list of hill tribes, not only in the census of 1931 but also in the list of Darjeeling district gazetteer of 1947.


Narendra Modi confirms that process to grant ST status to Gorkhas has begun.

6:43 PM
Narendra Modi at Madrihat Bengal confirms that process to grant St status to 11 Gorkha Communities has began.

“Many promised that they will include the Gorkhas among the SC and ST category. But none delivered. Your MP has started the exercise,” - Modi

Speaking at Madarihat in the North Bengal Dooars tea belt, Modi started his speech in Bengali, drawing on tea to connect with his audience. “You produce tea here. I also sold tea in my childhood. I want your blessings as I want to solve your problems.”

In quite a few tea gardens in the Dooars region, more than 100 workers had died of conditions related to severe malnourishment in the past few months. Given the ailing condition of several tea gardens, the Centre in January authorised the Tea Board of India to take over seven gardens belonging to the G P Goenka group – Birpara, Garganda, Lankapara, Tulsipara, Huntapara, Dhumchipara, Demdima with a total of 17,555 workers. The move followed more than one visit of union minister Nirmala Seetharaman who came to check on the situation in the gardens.

Watch the Video
“We ordered takeover of the tea gardens. But Mamata Banerjee together with the owners went to the court and obtained a stay... But I will not stop. I will not allow welfare of the tea workers to stop,” Modi said, as he accused the state government of apathy and alleged no welfare officers were willing to listen to the plight of the distressed tea workers.

“The Left took the state on the path of ruin in 34 years. Didi is pushing Bengal forward in the same direction,” he added.

Also focusing on Gorkhas, Modi said, “Many promised that they will include the Gorkhas among the SC and ST category. But none delivered. Your MP has started the exercise,” referring to S S Ahluwalia who won the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency in 2014 with support from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), a BJP ally.

Via: Hindustan Times

Lets give it a final push: Granting ST status to Gorkhas

9:54 AM
Writes Swaraj Thapa

There has been immediate, widespread reaction within the Gorkha community to the BJP led Central goverment's decision to set up a high level secretarial committee to look into and recommend granting of Scheduled Tribe status to 11 Gorkha communities in India, much of it heartily welcoming the move but some doubting it.

The single page order issued on April 2, 2016 by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, states that a committee is being set up headed by Shri Ashok Pai, joint secretary in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to “examine and recommend” regarding granting of ST status to eleven communities namely Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami, Yakkha (Dewan) and Dhimal living in Sikkim and other Gorkha dominated States and areas. The committee has been given a time frame of three months to submit its report to the government.

Coming in the face of ongoing assembly elections when the model code of conduct is in operation, it is obvious that the decision is being viewed with suspicion while also encountering protests from the Opposition, particularly the TMC. Sections opposed to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha think its a political ploy aimed at garnering votes in the elections. The TMC, on the other hand, have contended that the decision will distort the level playing field in the assembly elections, providing an advantage to the BJP and its alliance partner, the GJM in North Bengal region.
GJM Swaraj Thapa
GJM Swaraj Thapa
The charges do not carry much weight. The Centre is well within its jurisdiction to take such a decision in the overall interest of Gorkhas residing in different parts of the country as assembly elections are being held in only four states. There have been a number of precedents in the past when the Centre has taken decisions when elections are underway in a couple of states. Governance and administrative decision making cannot stop simply because assembly elections are being held in a few states. Then agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had announced sugar policy when assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh were underway.

Moreover, it was the very TMC government, which, through its state cabinet, had approved granting of tribal status to the 11 Gorkha communities and sent its recommendation to the Centre in 2014 just before the Lok Sabha elections got underway. No one then complained that the move was aimed at earning political dividend in the Lok Sabha elections. There have been other similar decisions, like the UPA government's move to go ahead with the announcement to create separate state of Telengana just before the 2014 general elections, clearly with the objective of electoral gains in that region. Mamata Banerjee's announcement to carve out a separate district of Kalimpong too was for the same reason and the fledgling JAP and its president, Harka Bahadur Chettri, is in fact contesting the assembly election from Kalimpong on the very plank of Kalimpong being made a district .

So it will not be surprising if Prime Minister Narender Modi speaks about the issue on Saturday when he visits Siliguri as part of his campaign tour. After his previous visit to Siliguri before becoming Prime Minister when he had said “Gorkha ka sapna mera sapna hai”, his likely assertion that Gorkhas will soon be granted Scheduled Tribe status is certain to be given more than a rousing welcome.
Politics apart, what is more important is that the decision is a milestone in the Gorkha community bid to seek inclusion as scheduled tribes. Like the West Bengal state cabinet's recommendation to the Centre, the setting up of the committee by the Centre is another important step in this direction. The issue is critical to the crore or so Gorkhas residing in the country, a majority of them in Sikkim, GTA region, Assam, other North east states, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand as they feel they are yet to get justice despite working equally for the country.

The will of the people is supreme in a democracy. And the Centre's decision does not find any objection whatsoever on grounds of merit from the small Gorkha community, who have been seeking ST status for decades. In fact, the GNLF was even quick to stake claim for the decision, contending that the late Subhash Ghisingh was the first to write to the Centre on the subject two decades ago. That they are only trying to bake their own political bread on the side when the fire is burning is obvious by the fact that they have not given any representation to the government either recently or in the last few years.
Elections will be over in the next fortnight, but what is critical now for the entire Gorkha community is to get together and make a final push to ensure that the decision gets recommended by the committee and sent for approval upwards. Although the terms of reference of the Ashok Pai committee are yet to be outlined by the Centre, Gorkhas living in Sikkim, GTA region, Assam, other northeast states, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand should not lose any time in getting their act together and make representations before the committee. Of course, the primary Gorkha leadership—Shri Pawan Kumar Chamling who heads the Sikkim government and Shri Bimal Gurung, who heads the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration will play a stellar role in devising a strategy and pushing the matter forward with the committee and the Central government.

But other political parties, non-political organisations, individuals as well as other outfits from all over India too should write to the committee outlining the reasons why Gorkhas need to be categorised as scheduled tribes. There is a need to absolutely convince Shri Ashok Pai and other members of the committee that the miniscule Gorkha community has not been able to get due justice in this country as they do not stand any chance when it comes to competition with the majority population because of their backwardness and other traits. There is no need to be garish or outlandish like the late Subhash Ghisingh when he held Jhakri parades and created his own plethora of Devis and Devtas but make a strong case for granting of ST status.

At present, there are five criteria-primitive traits, distinctive culture, shyness of contact, geographical isolation and backwardness that define who can be a Scheduled Tribe. But these characteristics are colonial in nature and the government is reworking them to include neutral socio-economic elements like educational backwardness, historical injustice and deprivation. Even autonomous religious practices can be one of the criteria, as per media reports. We, as Gorkha community, have to keep all this in mind, while making representations before the Ashok Pai committee.

For the record, Shri Gurung had raised the matter in a meeting with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this year, where I too was present as a delegation member. The GTA chief executive also met Tribal Affairs minister Jual Oram on the subject and in a number of the meetings, I also attended as a member.

The onus of deciding who can qualify as a scheduled tribe is also shifting from the Registrar General of India to the Tribal ministry, which is a positive step. It is also a fact that the Central government has been flooded with several applications from several communities to grant ST status. Howeever, the case of Gorkhas appears to have been fast forwarded—we have been picked from the line and taken to the front—only because of the fact that the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is a steadfast alliance partner of the BJP at the Centre. The GJM has left no stone unturned in assisting the BJP at all levels. It has allowed BJP to field candidates in its in stronghold areas in Terai and Dooars region of North Bengal. Parties like the GNLF and the fledling JAP have much to learn from GJM. Rather than hop from one party to another, they should know that loyalty can ultimately pays dividend. It is this philosophy that can also ultimately prove helpful in realising the demand of separate state of Gorkhaland.

Gorkha Apex Committee welcomes formation of committee for Scheduled Tribe status to the Gorkha Communities

5:40 PM
Sikkim: The Gorkha Apex Committee has extends its ‘heartfelt gratitude’ to the Central Government for constituting a committee to examine and recommend regarding granting of Scheduled Tribe status to the Gorkha Communities across India.

In a press press release GAC says, “It is indeed a joyous moment and Gorkha Apex Committee welcomes the Central Government of India for the initiative as well as recognizing ‘Gorkha’ as community in Sikkim. It was our sincere Endeavour to clarify the misconception of the community and nationality. Today, such misconception founds no room after Central Government acknowledges the presence of majority Gorkha in the State of Sikkim.”
Gorkha Apex Committee welcomes formation of committee for Scheduled Tribe status to the Gorkha Communities
Gorkha Apex Committee welcomes formation of committee for
Scheduled Tribe status to the Gorkha Communities
GAC has also suggests that the State Government should pursue the demand of Tribal Status for Gorkhas as a single community and should refrain from demanding the tribal status for individual communities. “If state Government pursue the demand of Tribal Status for individual communities it will be difficult for certain communities to get Tribal Status. The rejection of Tribal Status to these communities on the earlier occasion(s) was because of pursuing Tribal status for individual community," it states.

Via Sikkim Talk

Tribal status committee for Gorkhas centre's election stunt - JAP

9:29 AM
Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, April 5: The Jana Andolan Party (JAP) today said it was contemplating filing a complaint with the Election Commission against the Centre's order to constitute a committee to "examine" the demand of granting tribal status to 11 communities "living in Sikkim and other Gorkha dominated states and areas".

The nascent hill party floated by Harka Bahadur Chhetri feels the order by the Union ministry of tribal affairs is a violation of model code of conduct.

"The order looks like an election stunt. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is going to the press with the order and is trying to influence voters. This looks like a violation of model code of conduct. I am currently on the campaign trail and our party's bureau will sit for a meeting and decide by tomorrow whether to file a complaint (with the Election Commission) on the violation of the poll code," Chhetri, the president of the JAP, said today.
Jan Andolan Party Harka Bahadur Chhetri
Jan Andolan Party Harka Bahadur Chhetri
Granting tribal status to 10 Gorkha communities in the Darjeeling hills and Dhimals in Bengal's plains was a demand pursued by the GTA ruled by the Morcha.

Chhetri noted that the panel was just to examine the demand for the tribal tag. "The Morcha has no slogan and it seems the party has begged Rajnath Singh (Union home minister) to save it. The important thing in the order is that the committee has to consult 'respective state governments'. Their (Morcha's) relation (with the state) is known."

The Morcha doesn't enjoy a good rapport with the Trinamul government.

N.B. Khawash, the general secretary of Trinamul (hills), too, tried to highlight this particular section in the order. "It is clear that the state government has to be consulted. In this context, people have to think whether it would be wise to send Amar Singh Rai (Morcha candidate in Darjeelng) or Sharda Rai Subba (Trinamul candidate) to the Assembly. They must also think whether Shanta Chhetri (Trinamul candidate in Kurseong) or Rohit Sharma (Morcha candidate) to the Assembly. We request the voters to take a wise decision."

Jolt to JAP
Topden Bhutia, a close aide to JAP chief Chhetri, resigned from the party on Tuesday, while former president of the Kalimpong branch committee of the GNLF, Anil Lopchan, joined the Morcha. In another development, Bharati Tamang, ABGL president, said the party had not yet taken a decision on supporting Trinamul candidates in Darjeeling and Kurseong.


Centre takes up Gorkha ST demand

8:14 AM
Basant Kumar Mohanty

New Delhi, April 3: The Modi government has started the process that could lead to grant of Scheduled Tribe status to 11 Gorkha communities, mostly living in Sikkim and poll-bound Bengal.

The tribal affairs ministry yesterday set up a committee under joint secretary Ashok Pai to examine granting ST status to 11 communities - Bhujel, Gurang, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami, Yakhha and Dhimal - living in Sikkim and other Gorkha-dominated states and areas.

While the Sikkim government called it a step towards correction of "historical injustice", questions were raised about the timing of the decision that comes a day before Assembly elections kick off in Bengal.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which is fighting the elections in alliance with the BJP, has been demanding ST status for these communities and will likely make it a campaign point. The three hill seats will vote on April 17.

"It is because of the Morcha's consistent effort that the Centre has taken this initiative. Our alliance with the BJP is now slowly bearing fruit. We are confident of a positive outcome in three months," Morcha chief Bimal Gurung said today.

Ten of the communities have a sizeable presence in the Darjeeling hills. The eleventh, Dhimal, is concentrated in the plains.

The move is controversial as it appears to give priority to Gorkhas while the demand for ST status from about a hundred hill tribes from several states, including Assam, Odisha, Chhattishgarh and Jharkhand, is pending.

"This is politically motivated. It is being done in violation of norms. Many deserving communities are waiting to be included," former tribal affairs minister V.K.C. Deo said.

A.B. Ota, director of the SC & ST Research Training Institute, an Odisha government think tank, said the state had recommended inclusion of a number of tribes. If the Centre is considering including the demand of the Gorkha, that of Odisha should be considered simultaneously, he said.

Yesterday's decision is also surprising because a high-level task force set up by the UPA government on how to select communities for inclusion in the ST list did not recommend any of these 11 communities for inclusion. The task force had submitted its report in May 2014, days before the Modi government took office.

According to existing norms, ST status is granted to a community after Parliament clears a bill amending the list of STs.

While the Centre moves the bill in Parliament, the initiative has to be taken by the respective state government that has to recommend specific communities for inclusion. The tribal affairs ministry seeks the opinion of the Registrar General of India and the National Commission for STs, after which the bill is taken to Parliament.

"As per norms, the demand comes from the state government. The order gives the impression that the demand has not come from the state but is being pushed from the Centre," Deo said.

The UPA government had introduced a bill in 2013 for inclusion of the Nari Kuruvan community of Tamil Nadu and the Thanuhar community of Chhattishgarh, Deo said. "There was no controversy over their inclusion. The bill could not be passed. The NDA is not taking interest in that bill," the former minister said.

The task force on scheduling of tribes, headed by then tribal affairs secretary Hrushikesh Panda, had recommended about 30 communities for urgent inclusion. None was a Gorkha community. A task force member said the list included communities that had been historically ignored. Some were scheduled as hill tribes in the 1930 caste census but were not included in the list of STs after Independence, while others had lost the status because they migrated to some other state.

Tribal affairs ministry sources said the report was examined by an informal group of ministers headed by home minister Rajnath Singh but there has been no movement.

Tribal affairs minister Jual Oram did not wish to comment on the reason for choosing to take up ST status for the Gorkha communities and not the others. "I will find out and tell you," Oram said.

Sikkim's tribal affairs secretary G.P. Upadhyaya welcomed the move.

He said when Sikkim became part of India in 1975, the Union home ministry had asked the state to recommend all the communities for inclusion in the ST list. However, the state only recommended the Bhutia and Lepcha communities despite "Bhutias being the ruling class". In 2003, the state recommended inclusion of two Gorkha communities - Tamang and Limboo.

"These 11 communities are very poor and fulfil all criteria to be included in the schedule. The initiative by the government is a corrective action of the historical injustice," Upadhyaya said.

He said the proposed inclusion would help Gorkhas who are living in Sikkim, Bengal, Uttarakhand and northeastern states.

At present, nearly 700 communities are included in the schedule. They are entitled to reservation in government jobs and education. The government also runs affirmative schemes like residential schools and scholarships for tribal children.


Committee to examine and recommend Schedule Tribe for 11 Gorkha communities - Ministry of Tribal Affairs

10:24 PM
2nd April 2016

In a move that finally shows the seriousness of the Central government towards the welfare of the Gorkhali community in India, the Central Government of India has decided to constitute a committee to examine the demand for including 11 Gorkha communities into Scheduled Tribe status.
Indian Ministry of Tribal  Affairs has decided to constitute the Committee headed by Ashok Pai, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tribal  Affairs to examine and recommend granting of Schedule Tribe to 11 Gorkha communities namely Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami, Yakhha (Dewan) and Dhimal living in Gorkha dominated areas in India.

The committee is expected to submit the final report within 3 months.

Corresponding exclusively with TheDC, Darjeeling MP Shri SS Ahluwalia stated that, "the Central government is committed towards welfare and upliftment of Gorkhali community not only in Darjeeling, but all across India and this notification is a fruit of the hard work put in by Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, and Sikkim Government... I am hopeful that Gorkhalis will be recognized as Tribal community in all of India very soon."

The Government of India has strict norms under which communities are accorded ST status, however this is a major development for all the Gorkhalis in India and due credits should be accorded to Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, Govt of Sikkim and Govt of West Bengal who have pushed our demand to this point.

Photo Swaraj Thapa FB post

Via TheDC

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?

Gorkha Tribal Status Under Process Assures Union Minister - GJM

1:42 PM
A high level delegation led by GJM Chief Mr. Bimal Gurung yesterday met with Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Mr. Jual Oram to push for including all the Gorkhalis as Scheduled Tribes.

The GTA along with Sikkim government is demanding tribal status to 11 communities - Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami and Yakha Dewan from the hills - and the Dhimal community from the plains.

The Minister in turn assured the GJM team that the files are under process and have to be vetted from various departments - which will test if the proposed communities meet with requisite requirements for ST communities or not.

The Minister stated that once the communities are vetted and they are approved for ST status, and the file lands in his office, he will immediately sign it and issue the notification.

One cause of worry is that there are five criterion required to be fulfilled for getting an ST status, namely: primitive traits, distinctive culture, shyness of contact, geographical isolation and backwardness. The govt has recently reworked these to include socio-economic and educational backwardness, and autonomous religious practices.
Delegation led by GJM Chief Mr. Bimal Gurung yesterday met with
Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Mr. Jual Oram 
Under the new rules, a state government would now send its proposal for inclusion of a community as ST to the ministry of tribal affairs, which would take the views of the Registrar General of India, Anthropological Society of India and the National Commission of Scheduled Tribes (NCST) simultaneously.

After getting approval from all these institutions, the file then reaches for approval to the committee of secretaries, headed by secretary of tribal affairs and including secretaries of social justice and empowerment, legal affairs, home ministry and culture. This committee would take a decision. If it accepts the state's recommendation for inclusion of a community as ST, a Cabinet note would be prepared.

Via TheDC

Tribal status for Gorkhas of Sikkim and Darjeeling - Kiran Rijiju

9:41 AM
GAC thanks Central leadership on Gorkha tribal status demand

The Gorkha Apex Committee (GAC) has welcomed the statements of Union minister of State for Home Affairs Kiran Rijiju given to media assuring tribal status to Gorkha community within December.

Rijiju had reportedly told media in New Delhi that the tribal status demand of several communities in Northeast including Gorkha community are with the Prime Minister’s Office for consideration within December.

“The Union minister of State for Home Affairs in his statement has clearly said that the tribal status is not just for the Gorkhas of Sikkim and Darjeeling but for the entire Gorkha community residing across India. From his statement it is clear that the majority people of Sikkim are Gorkhas,” said GAC chief convener Passang Sherpa in a press conference today here at Press Club of Sikkim.
Gorkha Apex Committee (GAC) press release
Gorkha Apex Committee (GAC) press release page 1

Tribal status for Gorkhas of Sikkim and Darjeeling - Kiran Rijiju's
Gorkha Apex Committee (GAC) press release page 2
Sherpa said the continuous representations made by the GAC on tribal status demand have been fruitful.

“We extend our gratitude to the Central leadership for their fore sightedness which has helped clarify the looming misconception in the State of Sikkim as Gorkhas have been a misnomer as Nepali here. Such assurance of tribal status to Gorkha community has provided us an opportunity to correct our historical mistake regarding community and citizenship. The GAC shall reach out to every nook and corner to sensitize the common people of Sikkim on the same. We hope that the leaders of Sikkim will refrain themselves from misleading the people of Sikkim from now on,” said the GAC members.

Source -

All India Nepali Schedule Caste Association GTA Reservation Demand - Threaten Agitation

11:56 AM

Writes: Vivek Chhetri

The All India Nepali Schedule Caste Association today threatened to launch a dharna at Nabanna and a hunger strike after that if the state failed to start the process of amending the GTA Act in a month to provide seat reservation for the community in the hill body.

Today, 1,000-odd members of the association brought out a silent rally from Darjeeling railway station to Chowrasta.

They also demanded a development board for the community and a 100-point roster system on GTA job reservation.

G.N. Lomjel, general secretary of the association, said: "One of our main demands is seat reservation. We would request the state to start the process by amending the GTA Act in a month failing which, we will stage a dharna at Nabanna. After that, we might sit for an indefinite hunger strike."

There are 45 elected seats in the GTA and none of them are reserved. The community did not have any reservation in the 28 elected seats of the erstwhile Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council as well.

"Seat reservation in the GTA must reflect our community's population in the hills which now stands at 17.5 per cent. We are deprived since 1988 (when DGHC was formed)," said association president R. Thatal. "If the GTA Act is not amended within the winter session, we are thinking of boycotting the coming elections," he said without elaborating.

"Our other demands include formation of a development board for the SC community and job reservation in the GTA. We will also write to the National Schedule Caste Commission," Thatal added.

Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said: "We will raise the demand at the meeting in Calcutta tomorrow."

Source: Telegraph, Pic: Himalaya Darpan

Central Minister Assurance on ST Status for‪ ‎Gorkhas

8:52 AM

A team of representatives from various Gorkha communities led by former Kurseong MLA Dr. Rohit Sharma met the Central Minister for Tribal Affairs Mr. J in Siliguri yesterday and placed the demand for the inclusion of the Gorkha communities in Scheduled Tribe community. The Minister Mr. Jual Oram assured the representatives that the demand will examined sympathetically.

The leading party from Darjeeling, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has been demanding the inclusion of left out Gorkha groups – Rai, Bhujel, Newar, Gurung, Mangar, Jogi, Khas, Sunuwar, Thami, Yakha (Dewan) and Dhimal as Scheduled Tribes. 

The Hon’ble Minister Mr. Jual Oram has in turn assured the representatives that the demand for inclusion as STs would be examined sympathetically and following the existing norms. 

It might be noted that under the British, all the constituents of Gorkhali community were treated as “Hill Tribes,” and thus Darjeeling and Dooars where Gorkhas are in Majority were treated as a “non-regulation district” which meant that rules and laws developed in rest of the province would not be applicable in the region, without the express agreement from the governor, however that distinction was eradicated once India gained Independence.

The attempt by various Gorkha groups to be recognized as tribal, is seen as a move to assert the Gorkha autonomy over existing Bengal government disposition. 

Via: The Darjeeling Chronicle / Darpan

Rai community rejects development board under West Bengal govt

Writes: Vivek Chhetri
An association of Rai community members today said it would not accept a development board for them as such an arrangement would divide not only the hill population but also their own community.
This is the first time that any community-based organisation in the hills has taken a stand against the state government's development board.

The Mamata Banerjee government has already announced development boards for five communities in the Darjeeling hills, Lepchas, Tamangs, Sherpas, Bhutias and Mangars.

The All India Kirati Khambu Rai Association today held a meeting at the Gorkha Dukha Niwarak Sammelan Hall to decide whether the community should accept a development board.

"The meeting was attended by the office-bearers of the association and 95 per cent of those present were of the opinion that we must not accept the development board," said Sachin Rai Dumi, the president of the association.

The Rai community has another organisation, Kirati Khambu Rai Sanskriti Sansthan, which hasn't yet made its stand on the development board clear. Both the organisations are equally influential in the hills.
Rai community rejects development board under West Bengal govt
Sachin Rai Dumi, the president of the association, (centre) in Darjeeling on Tuesday.
Picture by Suman Tamang
The association led by Sachin said its members would even sit on a hunger strike and bring out protest rallies if the development board was accepted by any other section of the Rai community.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, during her visit to Kalimpong in September, had said in a public speech that she was considering the demands made by the Rai and Limbu communities for development boards.

"We have come to know that some individuals are approaching the chief minister for a development board. We will tell the chief minister that we do not want the board. If the need arises, we will organise protest rallies and hunger strikes to protest the formation of the board," said Hem Rai, the general secretary of the All India Kirati Khambu Rai Association.

Explaining their opposition to the board, Sachin said: "First of all, the board is not a permanent body and it cannot fulfil the aspirations of 5 lakh Rai community members. The board will divide not only the Gorkha community but also the Rai community."

The development boards have been registered as societies and are under the backward classes welfare department of the state government.

"We fear division within the Rai community as the board will not be able to build houses for 3 lakh Rai families in the BPL category. Some Rai members will receive benefits, while others will not. This will create a rift in the community," said Sachin.

M.K. Rai, the president of the Darjeeling subdivisional committee of the association, said: "Moreover, our main demand is to declare the community as a Scheduled Tribe. If we start running for houses and toilets, we will not have time to pursue our ST demand with seriousness."
Rais are now enlisted in the OBC category.

The total hill population is around 15 lakh and Sachin's association claims that 33 are the Rais.
The decision by an association of the Rai community to reject the development board has come as a major relief to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which has been alleging that Mamata Banerjee is trying to divide and rule the hill people through the formation of development boards.

"It is a very positive thought and we welcome it. Such thoughts will go a long way in strengthening the unity among the Gorkhas in the hills," said Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha.
Prominent Rai leaders in the Morcha are Jyoti Kumar Rai and Phoebe Rai, both of whom are executive GTA Sabha members.

Jyoti Kumar Rai welcomed the decision.

"The benefits that come through the tribal status are far more than those given under the development board. After all, the development board only divides the hill population," he said.

Tara Rai, the president of the other Rai association, Kiranti Khambu Rai Sanskriti Sansthan, could not be contacted today.

However, a senior member of this association on condition of anonymity said: "Our main demand is the Scheduled Tribe tag for the Rais. Nevertheless, some youths want the development board. Our association has formed a fact-finding team to study the implications of the development board and it is only after it submits a report, will we take a stand on the matter."

Binny Sharma, the spokesman for Trinamul (hills), said: "A lot of people from the Rai community have met the chief minister with the demand for a development board. They want development and to preserve their culture like other communities in the hills. I haven't heard much about the association which is saying that they do not want the board. As far as the tribal status is concerned, the state government was the first to write to the Centre. It is the BJP government which has not yet shown any interest towards the demand."

Source: Telegraph

Gorkha National Symposium (Sangoshti) – Day 2 Update

11:06 PM
The second day of the Gorkha National Symposium (sangoshti) on the inclusion of the non-tribal Gorkha communities within the perview of Schedule Tribes provisions under the constitution of India began with the brief welcoming of the dignitaries by the Master of the Ceremony, Shri. Diwakar Gurung and Shri. Shuba Pradhan.

This was followed by the lighting of the lamps by the Chief Guest of the seminar – Dr. Pawan Kumar Chamling, the Chief Minister of Sikkim; Shri. Bimal Gurung – Chief Executive, GTA; Shri. P.D. Rai – Member of Parliament, Sikkim; and Shri. R.P.Sharma – Member of Parliament, Tejpur, Assam. Dr Chamling was accompanied by his team of Ministers -Mr U.T. Gyatso, Mr A.K. Ghatani, Smt. Tulsi Devi, Shri. T. Wangdi Lepcha, among others, who were all extended greetings with khadas and momentos.

The seminar was also marked with the release of the report by Dr. Chamling titled - “Gorkha ko Sapana: Gorkhaland” that was based on the National Seminar on Gorkhaland held in April, 2015; complied by the Study Forum, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. The seminar was made lively by the glittering traditional performances by different communities such as the Mangar dance, Gurung dance, Yaka Dewan dance, Newar dance, Khas Hitkari dance, and Khambu Rai dance.
Gorkha National Symposium (Sangoshti) – Day 2 Chief Guest of the seminar – Dr. Pawan Kumar Chamling
Gorkha National Symposium (Sangoshti) – Day 2 Chief Guest of the seminar – Dr. Pawan Kumar Chamling
Here is an excerpt of the main points made by the speakers:

Shri. P. D. Rai, MP Sikkim: He specifically pointed out that the Sikkim Government under the leadership Dr. Chamling have already initiated the process of taking the issue concerning the inclusion of the ten non-tribal Gorkha communities under the Schedule Tribe category. He also passed on the message from the Rajya Sabha member from Sikkim, Shri. Yissey Lachungpa who have extended his full support for the quest of tribal status by the ten non-tribal Gorkhas across India.

R. P. Sharma, MP Assam: Referring to Dr. Chamling as the “evergreen Gorkha hero of India”, he stated that the two day seminar was a historic event, where Gorkhas from various parts of India have come together in Darjeeling – their “maiti-ghar”. He stressed on the success of the 6% Gorkhas in Assam in terms of literacy and proudly claimed that the Gorkhas as the “bhumi putras” of India. He called for the creation of a team under the leadership of Dr. Chamling, Shri. B. Gurung, Shri. P.D. Rai, Shri. R.P.Sharma and few other ministers from Sikkim to look and deliberate into the numerous issues that Gorkha communities face across India.

Shri Pawan Chamling, CM Sikkim: Claiming himself to be one of the representative of the Gorkhas and not just the Chief Minister of Sikkim, Dr. Chamling stressed on the need to reclaim the lost space of the Gorkhas in India. Zealously wanting to contribute towards the wellbeing of the Gorkhas across India, he assured the support of Sikkim in all the endeavours of the Gorkhas including in securing the tribal status for the non-tribal Gorkhas. However, he expressed his reservation about the inclusion of “ten jatis”- he was of the opinion that there could evidently be more than “ten jatis”. He appealed the audience to express foremost their national identity without losing sight of their matriarchal bonds. He pointed out the right to tribal status as well as the right to Gorkhaland is every Gorkha’s “jaivik adkhikar, janma siddha adhikar, prakritik adhikar” he called upon Shri. Bimal Gurung and himself to ponder over the issues confronting the Gorkhas, particularly the Section 7 of the Indo Nepal Treaty (1950), education, capacity building and skill development of the present generation Gorkhas among others. He passionately asserted the historical, cultural, traditional, linguistic and religious relationship that Sikkim and Darjeeling shares. He expressed his desire to hold similar seminars across India and take up and deliberate on different issues of the Gorkhas. In concluding his inspiring speech, he applauded and appreciated the leadership of Shri. Bimal Gurung in taking up development initiatives besides advocating the rights of Gorkhas and the demand for Gorkhaland.

Shri. Bimal Gurung, GTA Chief: Shri. Bimal Gurung started his speech by expressing the significance of such seminars wherein the representatives of Gorkha’s assembled at one place to discuss the issues pertaining to them. He, however, expressed his displeasure about the non-performance of successive governments in Bengal to give Darjeeling its due share of respect and development. He expressed that such seminars be undertaken in bigger ways, in bigger platforms – in Sikkim and other states of India. He called for a united front of the Gorkhas across India in the struggle for Gorkhaland as well as for the inclusion of the tribal status of the non-tribal Gorkhas. He reiterated his commitment to Gorkhaland and reminded the audience that only the central government is entitled to form new states within the federation of India. He stated that the responsibilities of learning and undertaking research activities concerning issues, histories, and contributions of the Gorkhas in India, as suggested by Dr. Chamling, should be a collective endeavours among the Gorkha communities.

Shri. Roshan Giri concluded the seminar by extending his vote of thanks to all the dignitaries, speakers, the organisers, volunteers, performers, media and the audiences.

Source; TheDC

Also Read Gorkha Rashtriya Sangoshti / Gorkha‬ National Symposium – Day 1

The Risky Politics in Darjeeling Hills

9:23 AM
Writes: Sangay Tamang

You don’t need to go anywhere to ask who you are. Take a minute to look yourself and analyses how do you know about your “self” then define yourself. I am pretty sure enough that you can’t define your identity as a “self” in context of the space where you are living today. Are you Rai, Limbu, Tamang, Gurung, Sunwar, Thapa, Lepcha, Bhutia etc, or you are Nepali/Gorkha? How would you articulate yourself in this complex forge of messy identity? Which identity is important for you-Nepali/Gorkha or your surname?

Perhaps, identity itself is very problematic concept to define in a country like India and for the community like Gorkha.

The situation today in Darjeeling Hill politics is characterized by the same paradox of confusion politics. It has been a decade or two that we have been hearing the voice of hills crying for the separate statehood of “Gorkhaland”.

We were told in every sphere of our life that we are Gorkha but we were never taught to be a Gorkha. I don’t know how to be a Gorkha because we never look back to the genesis of the same.

For the vast majority of youth in the Hills, Gorkha means joining Gorkha Army. Can you be able to define “who is ‘Gorkha’?” if somebody raise you such question in any metropolitan city. We are still in the same episteme of colonial subjugation where we are reproducing the same colonial myth of Gorkha as a “mercenary”. However, our world-view is limit within the construction of the word “Gorkha” as mostly a political construct evolved during the aftermath of Gorkhaland movement; and which has paved its discourse in the academic and political domain as an alternative word to distinguish the Nepali of India from that of its counterpart from Nepal. But there is no empirical reflection of differentiation between the two. We don’t know how to project ourselves as a “Gorkha” except in political sphere.

Hence this confusion has become a bed-rock for identity politics in the Hills today. Taking the renewed pride of cultural elements, the identity in the Hills has been romanticized over the flows of political dimension. This cultural and linguistic trait of Darjeeling Hills has been politicized over the manifestation of political game so much so that “culture and tradition” become tools of even the state politics. The political manipulation over the issues of Gorkhaland moved with the notion of “Gorkhali” to pressurize the State and Central Government while the same notion has been used by the state tactic to dismantle the movement with the politics of Tribal Development Board.

With the growing politics of tribalism in the Hills, the word “Gorkha” arrives to a more complicated scenario leaving less space for the growth of “we-feeling”. Further, the political up heal got new momentum with the notion of tribal captivation where the political party today are busy in promoting the cause of ST status without knowing the rationale of its existence. How valid it would be to demand the ST status for 11 Gorkha communities? The question needs a good research answer.

It is painful to write here but it is the fact that today the word ‘Gorkha’ has become a commercial product which has been brought and sold out from one political party to another. When the opposition party doesn’t find any agenda to raise its voice, the word “Gorkha” serve the basis of their interest. The manifestation of ruling party is clearly based on the agenda of “Gorkha and Gorkhaland” whenever there is any issues emerge of political disturbance. Hence the word “Gorkha” has been commercialized to a level that today one political party is teaching another about how to wear a dress or attire of Gorkha.
The Risky Politics in Darjeeling Hills
Aiyeuni Maldaju cartoon on the present politics of hills
I feel ashamed today to see political elite in Hills arguing over the confusion of who should wear what dress and how should it be worn? If we ourselves are not clear about what we are then how should we project ourselves as a “Gorkha”? This confusion politics of “Gorkha and Gorkhaland” needs to departure itself from the risky politics over culture and tradition and should stop blaming each other for its existence instead work for the common cause.

Thus the word “Gorkha” needs a new dimension free of risky political manipulation. The culture and tradition should be given its own space to grow and flourish rather than politicizing it otherwise Darjeeling would be a land of ethnic conflict in near future as similar to many Northern Eastern state. It is high time for the politician in Darjeeling to learn from the experience of North East’s ethnic cleansing where the existence of one ethnic group is considered to be dangerous and harmful by other.

Hence, the ultimate needs for Darjeeling hills today are the concern over issues which need to be addressed outside of political domain. Each and every aspect of Hill’s development has been politicized in such a way that none of the academic and development perspective can be complete without taking into account the political impact to it.

Perhaps, identity politics in Hills has become so rampant and risky that there is little or no space for other phenomenon to flourish outside of political circle. Could development be possible without political interference of State and local leader? So lets make the hills free of risky politics.

[Sangay is a research scholar at Hyderabad Central University and this is an excerpt from a paper he is currently working on]

Via The Darjeeling Chronicle

Bimal Gurung to meet Pawan Chamling to Discuss Gorkha Tribal Status

10:59 AM
Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) chief Bimal Gurung on Wednesday made statement that he will be visiting Sikkim on 23 August for a meeting with chief minister Pawan Chamling to discuss the inclusion of 11 Gorkha communities in the Schedule Tribes (ST) list.
Bimal Gurung to meet Pawan Chamling to Discuss Gorkha Tribal Status
Bimal Gurung to meet Pawan Chamling to Discuss Gorkha Tribal Status 
“I have a meeting with the chief minister of Sikkim, Pawan Kumar Chamling regarding the grant of tribal status to 11 Gorkha communities, for which I will be going to Gangtok on 23 August,” Gurung said, adding, “The GTA has already raised this issue with union ministers and Chamling too has been working on it.” Gurung was speaking in a press meet at the GJMM party office in Patlebash on Wednesday.

It may be mentioned that a GTA delegation led by Gurung and Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia had met the union minister of tribal affairs, Jual Oram in Delhi for the same on 10 August.

After the meeting, Gurung had said the tribal minister had given them “a positive hearing”’and had called for a meeting with the ministry of tribal affairs, registrar general of India and GTA in Delhi, to discuss the modalities for including the communities in the ST list, later in September.
Gurung also said that he will be leaving for Delhi and Vindhaychal for his pre-planned pilgrimage after the 23 August meeting, due to which he will not be able to meet chief minister Mamata Banerjee, while she visits Darjeeling on 24 August. “However, the GTA delegation will be there to welcome her. Deputy chief of GTA, Col Ramesh Alley will also speak on the Clean and Green Project, to be held on 24 August in Chowrastha,” Gurung said.

GTA delegation met Tribal Affairs Minister for inclusion of 11 Gorkha communities in ST list

7:55 PM
GTA delegation led by Bimal Gurung and  S.S Ahulwalia Hon'ble MP, Darjeeling along with GTA members Benoy Tamang, Anit Thapa, Satish Pokhrel and GJM Central Committee Member, Deven Sharma met Jual Oram, Hon'ble Minister of Tribal Affairs at Delhi for the immediate inclusion of 11 Gorkha communities from throughout India namely Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami, Yakhha (Dewan) and Dimal in the List of Schedule Tribes under the Government of India.
GTA delegation met Tribal Affairs Minister for inclusion of 11 Gorkha communities in ST list
GTA delegation met Tribal Affairs Minister for inclusion of 11 Gorkha communities across India in the ST list
Bimal Gurung in his social media page Bimal Gurung Official released the following statement .

"Shri Jual Oram gave a positive hearing and has called for meeting in September which will be held between Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Registrar General of India (RGI) and GTA to discuss the modalities for the inclusion of these 11 communities in the central list of Schedule Tribes. Shri S.S Ahulwalia and me will also be present in this meeting.

In the letter addressed to the Hon'ble Tribal Minister, I have asked that the 11 Gorkha communities living across India should be included in ST List of the Government of India.

A GTA delegation had earlier met the Hon'ble Minister on 12th August 2014 and again on 19th December 2014 with representatives from the 10 communities.

The demand of the inclusion of these communities in Schedule Tribe List was stated in the agreement of the Memorandum of Agreement of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration which was signed on 18th July, 2011 at Pintail Village,Sukna in the presence of Shri P. Chidambaram, the than Hon’ble Union Home Minister, Mamata Banerjee, Hon’ble Chief Minister, West Bengal and Shri Bima"

Uttarakhand Gorkhas seek State Gorkha Kalyan Board and OBC status for Chettris and Bahuns

12:30 PM
DEHRADUN: Gorkhas who constitute about 12% of the population in Uttarakhand have demanded the formation of State Gorkha Kalyan Board and implementation of a high court order according OBC status to Chettris and Bahun castes among the Gorkhas living in the state.
 Gorkhali Sudhar Sabha (GSS) with Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat
 Gorkhali Sudhar Sabha (GSS) with Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat - pic via GSS website
Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat who felicitated Gorkhali Sudhar Sabha (GSS) for rendering humanitarian services at earthquake-hit Nepal on Saturday agreed to set up a state Gorkha Kalyan Board soon.

Speaking on the occasion, Lt Col BS Chettri, president GSS, said, "In Uttarakhand, Gorkhas constitute approximately 12% of the population and yet do not find any mention in Wikipedia or websites that list the communities which form the state. This year, across the country, we are celebrating 200 years of Gorkha presence in India and it is high time that they are given their due and acknowledged."

Incidentally, while the Centre had listed Gorkhas as OBCs, Chettris and Bahuns were not listed. Earlier this year, Uttarakhand high court had directed that the two castes be included in the OBC list.

Besides, the GSS wanted the establishment of a Zonal Recruitment Office (ZRO) in Dehradun. The ZRO is responsible for recruitment of personnel into the Army from Uttarakhand but at present it is located in Lucknow.

The members also demanded that some chowks and parks be named after Gorkha martyrs and freedom-fighters, which the CM consented to.

Besides these demands, the GSS members were aggrieved over the recent state order directing that migrants from Bangladesh and Gorkhas be barred from being given gas connections, ration cards, voter IDs and land registrations in Pithoragarh district. After the CM was apprised of this, directions were given to revoke the order.

"GSS had sent 11 truckloads of relief material to Nepal and it included food packets, tents, blankets, medicines among other items and members had undertaken arduous journey to Nepal to deliver the material. It was a great moment for the entire community to be felicitated by the chief minister. We are glad that some of our demands also have been heard," said Prabha Shah, media incharge,GSS.

Incidentally, Dehradun houses a one of its kind memorial in the world — "The Kalinga war memorial" — which the victorious British army had set up in honour of the Gorkhas for their bravery at the Battle of Nalapani marking it perhaps the first such memorial constructed by the victor for the vanquished.

Source TOI

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