The Centre is eager to accord tribal status to the 11 Gorkha communities, but some technical problems are holding it back for now, Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram said in Kalimpong on Sunday. “The central government is pursuing the demand for tribal status for 11 Gorkha communities with all sincerity. But, we have to follow the established norms and procedures to get over some technical problems,” Oram told reporters in this hill town.
“All the 11 Gorkha communities seeking tribal status are living in almost all states of the country. For that, the tribal department needs to take inputs from the states concerned and consult other departments involved. That is why the issue is pending,” he said.
|Union Tribal Affairs Minister said the West Bengal and Sikkim governments had already issued recommendation for these communities. (Source: File Photo)|
अनी चौथो माँगमा एकलब्य मोडेल रेसीडेन्टल स्कुल योजना अन्तर्गत गोर्खा बाहुल्य क्षेत्र एँव जनजाती बहुल्य क्षेत्रमा स्कुलहरुको निर्माण चाडैनै पुरा गरियोस, यसमा यो माँग चाडैनै पुरा गरिने छ भनेर वहाँले भन्नु भयो। अन्तमा मन्त्री महोदयलाई जनजाती मन्त्रालयको सबै सुनीयोजित कार्य एव कार्यक्रम सठिक रुपमा लागु भएको छ कि छैन साथै कार्य पुरा भएको छ कि छैन भनेर यस्को जाँचको देखरेख गर्नको निम्ती समाज र मन्त्रलाय बाट सयुक्त समितीको गठन हुनु पर्छ भन्दा वहाँले, यस् माथि तुरन्त पहल गर्ने आसवासन दिनु भयो। आजको यस् सभा अतीनै सकारात्मक थियो। आजको प्रतिनिधि टोलीमा श्रीमती किरण सेवा, अरुण दास, बिनोद घले, निरज रावत, रुस्तम छेत्री, डि० के० प्रधान, लोप्सँग लामा, एन्ड्रु गुरुङ, सघन मोक्तान आदी उपस्थित थिए।
Via Gorkha Foundation
The hill TMC organised a victory celebration and a public meeting in Darjeeling where its leaders accused the GJM of hoodwinking the people over the issue by claiming Prime Minister Narendra Modi had endorsed its demand. Sardha Subba, the Darjeeling TMC candidate for the Assembly election and the hill Trinamool Mahila Congress president, said that according to a Press Information Bureau report released on Thursday, the Union Cabinet chaired by Modi on May 25 approved of the introduction of two Bills relating to the issue of granting tribal status to various communities in five states. According to the PBI report, the Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval to the amendments in the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order of 1950 to modify the list of Scheduled Tribes in the state of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Tripura and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
|Hill communities seeking ST status - a file photo|
The communities from the hills are Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami and Yakha Dewan, and the Dhimal from the Dooars. Meanwhile, the GJM disagreed saying the Union Cabinet’s approval to place two Bills for the five states as reported by the PBI and its demand were in different stages. “She (Subba) is not aware of this. Committees were formed in 2013 for the five states and the UT, and based on the recommendations of those states, relevant Bills have been placed before the Cabinet. However, in our case, a committee was formed only this year, hence it did not find mention,” countered Binay Tamang, the GJM assistant secretary.
All the same, he expressed happiness that the Cabinet had approved the introduction of two Bills for amendment, saying this would set a precedent. “When the Bills get amended, they will become the basis to facilitate the Centre to take up our case,” Tamang said. The GJM leader furnished an order issued on April 2 by deputy secretary of the Union tribal ministry Roopak Chaudhuri to the chief secretaries of all states, excluding Haryana and Punjab. The order states the tribal ministry has decided to constitute a committee headed by Ashok Pai, joint secretary, Union ministry of tribal affairs, to examine and recommend granting of ST status to 11 communities living in Sikkim and other Gorkha dominated states and areas.
As per the order, the committee will have to consult with the Sikkim government and the states with significant Gorkha populations and submit its report to the tribal affairs ministry within three months.
Darjeeling, June 3: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) today advised Trinamul women chief in the hills, Sharda Subba Rai, to consult her party leadership before making statements on granting tribal status to 11 communities.
"The statement issued by Sharda Subba Rai, the Trinamul candidate who lost the recent Assembly election from Darjeeling, clearly suggests that she is unaware of the developments over the tribal status issue. It is also very clear that she has not consulted senior Trinamul leaders and we suggest that she be clear on an issue that is as important as granting tribal status before making any comments," said Binay Tamang, assistant general secretary of the Morcha.
The Morcha was reacting to Subba's charges that the hill party and its ally at the Centre, the BJP, were not sincere on the tribal issue.
|Central committee formed to look into the demand for ST status to 11 hill communities|
"On May 25, the Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval for the introduction of two bills in Parliament to modify the list of Scheduled Tribes in five states - Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Tripura - and identification of new communities in the Union Territory of Puducherry," Sharda Subba said had said.
Five communities from Chattisgarh, two each from Assam, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu and one each from Tripura and Puducherry have been identified, the Trinamul leader had said.
"The Morcha is an ally of the BJP but there was no mention of a single community from the hills. This clearly proves that both the Morcha and the BJP are not sincere about the demand and are only using it as an election plank as municipal polls are due this year and GTA elections next year," Sharda Subba had said.
Tamang today said: "On April 2, the Centre formed a committee to look into the demand of granting ST status to 11 communities. Whereas in the case of the committees that were recommended on May 25, such a committee had been formed in 2013. It is after the report of the 2013 committee that the Centre is now preparing to place a bill in Parliament. Our case is different as the committee has only been formed now, that too because of our incessant pressure, and we are confident that the recommendation from this committee will be favourable for us," said Tamang.
"The developments clearly suggest that Sharda Subba Rai is confused on the issue," said Tamang.
The Gorkha Janmukti Yuwa Morcha (GJYM) rally will start from the Motor Stand area from eleven in the morning and end at Chowrastha and everyone has been asked to support the demand. The GJM has been demanding tribal status for 10 communities from the hills and one from the Dooars area. The communities from the hills are Bhujel,
Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami, Yakha (Dewan) and the plains community is the Dhimal.
The Morcha got a boost to its demand after Prime Minister Narendra Modi endorsed it during an election campaign for party candidates in the north Bengal region recently. Earlier this year a committee was also formed by the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs to examine and make recommendations.
|Gorkha Janmukti Yuwa Morcha (GJYM) - A File Photo|
The state government too had recommended the inclusion of the 10 hill communities under the tribal status category. At present, the Bhutia, Sherpa, Yolmo, Lepcha and Tamang come under the Scheduled Tribe status. The Bharatiya Gorkha Janjati Sangarsha Mahasangh (BGJSM), an umbrella organisation of the communities demanding tribal status, too has been pursuing the issue with the central government. After the Centre’s initial nod to look into the issue, the Mahasangh has started a mass signature campaign to garner support and make people aware of the demand.
“We Gorkhas have faulted on many occasions with our various demands because of disunity. But the time has come to work together and take forward this demand to its end,” said Amrit Yonzon, the youth front’s spokesperson.
May 30: After a bitter and hard fought-Assembly election, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and its rival, Jana Andolan Party, are now busy protecting their support base and are on the path of agitation in the hills less than a month after the poll.
Four days after the poll results were announced, the JAP started a relay hunger strike at Tricone Park in Kalimpong from May 23 demanding streamlining of water distribution system in town. The party has threatened to intensify the protest if the problem is not resolved by the public health engineering under the GTA and the residents are not given water on a regular basis.
"We are likely to continue the dharna for some more time since the administration has done precious little to resolve the problem," said Nayan Pradhan, JAP secretary.
|GJM and JAP on agitation path to protect their support base|
The Morcha, too, has decided to launch an agitation to demand land rights to people living in tea gardens and cinchona plantations and tribal status for 11 hill communities.
Suraj Subba, the general secretary of the Janmukti Parcha-Patta Sangharsh Committee, said: "We have decided to hold gate meetings in front of all 87 tea gardens in the hills and in the cinchona plantations on June 13 for an hour before the start work. This is the start of our agitation and we will vigorously pursue our demand."
The Morcha's youth wing, the Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha, has also decided to hold a rally in Darjeeling on June 2 to seek tribal status for 11 hill communities.
"The rally will start from Darjeeling Motor Stand and wind its way to Chowrastha," said Amrit Yonzone, the spokesman for the Yuva Morcha.
The BGJSM’s demand is for according tribal status to the Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami and Yakha (Dewan) communities from the hills and the Dhimals from the plains of Siliguri. The organisation, which is affiliated to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, asserted that when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bagdogra and Birpara on April 7 to campaign for the state Assembly election, he had said the process for granting tribal status to the 11 communities had started.
|Signature campaign for 11 gorkha communities demanding tribal status|
The GJM had initiated the demand for issuing granting tribal status to those communities that had been left out. Presently, the Bhutia, Sherpa, Yolmo, Lepcha and Tamang communities come under the tribal category. GJM leaders have also placed the demand in several bipartite and tripartite meetings as the matter also figures in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration agreement.
BGJSM president Kanchan Gurung said, “The signature campaign has actually started already from May 7 beginning from Lebong and the next day it was held in Mirik. We conducted the campaign today along Hill Cart Road in Darjeeling town. We are getting a good response from the people.”
The BGJSM maintained that the signature campaign was being undertaken solely after the announcement by the prime minister and refused to comment on a recent government circular that stated a committee has been formed to look into the demand. On April 2 this year, the Union tribal affairs ministry issued an order stating it had decided to constitute a committee which would be headed by Ashok Pal, joint secretary to the tribal affairs ministry, for examining and making recommendations on the issue of granting tribal status to the 11 communities in question.
“We do not want to comment on the formation of the committee as it is official work requiring due process. All we have to say is that no matter what, we should get tribal status. And we feel that through the signature campaign we want to tell the prime minister to grant it as soon as possible,” said Gurung, adding the list of signatures garnered would be sent to the prime minister on a regular basis.
The BGJSM also said that after the Assembly election results on May 19, they would hold a meeting with GJM chief Bimal Gurung to plan future programmes. They will also try to meet central ministers and the prime minister too if possible, to pursue the much sought-after demand.
|Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung |
during BJP election campaign
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
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.
Yours Sincerely Subash Ghisingh, Administrator of DGHC
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.
Via HAMRO APPA
“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
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|
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
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
Via Sikkim Talk
Committee to examine and recommend Schedule Tribe for 11 Gorkha communities - Ministry of Tribal Affairs
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|
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
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.
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 page 1|
|Gorkha Apex Committee (GAC) press release page 2|
“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 - nelive.in
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
|Sachin Rai Dumi, the president of the association, (centre) in Darjeeling on Tuesday. |
Picture by Suman Tamang
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|
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.
Also Read Gorkha Rashtriya Sangoshti / Gorkha National Symposium – Day 1
|Bimal Gurung to meet Pawan Chamling to Discuss Gorkha Tribal Status|
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.