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Bimal seeks Chamling support for Tribal Status for Indian Nepali community

Bimal seeks Chamling support for Tribal Status for Indian Nepali community
Kalimpong, Feb 11: Eye-brows raised, in what could be yet another ‘political stunt’ from Bimal Gurung, the
Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) chief is contemplating approaching the Sikkim chief minister
Pawan Chamling in a bid to strike a joint movement for tribal status to Nepali speaking citizens scattered in the country.
If not a merger with Sikkim as of now, Gurung who is a junior politician to Chamling, Wednesday indicated his willingness for a merger with Chamling for demanded tribal status for Nepalis from both the politicians. While Gurung and his party vis-a-vis the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has demanded tribal status for eleven different communities from the Nepali community excluding the schedules caste residing in Darjeeling hills, Chamling has demanded tribal status for Sikkimese Nepalis. At present,Bhutia, Lepcha, Limboo and
Tamang Community enjoys tribal status both in GTA area and Sikkim.
 
Speaking on the sidelines of a religious programme here today, Gurung told journalists that he will soon make a gesture to meet Chamling to give the demand more force jointly. “The movement for tribal status would be more effective if fought jointly,” remarked Gurung adding that the tribal status if granted should be for all the Gorkhas residing in India. Gurung reiterated that he has already approached the Government of India regarding the issue but feels that the demand will get justice only if the demanding forces get stronger. On December 19,2014 Gurung met Jual Oram with the demand of the inclusion of 10 Gorkha and the Dhimal community from the plain in the Scheduled Tribe list. Gurung led a Bharatiya Gorkha Janajati Sangharsha Mahasangh (BGJSM- representing the 10 Gorkha communities) team to Shashtri Bhawan, New Delhi. He was accompanied by S.S Ahluwalia, the BJP MP from Darjeeling. Gurung’s gesticulation comes close on the heels of  Chamling’s recent stunt terming the demand for tribal status to Sikkimese Nepalis as his ‘major’ political programme in the coming days. Chamling said on January 24 that the demand is lying pending with the centre for a long time now. “The Sikkimese people must come out and work together to achieve the status,” Chamling had then remarked. The Burman commission formed to study the socio economic status of all the communities residing in Sikkim has also recommended for making Sikkim a tribal state granting all Communities tribal status in its report submitted at the Centre. At present, Bhutia, Lepcha and Limboo, Tamang Community enjoys tribal status in the state. On October 20, 2014 Supreme Court set a two 2 month deadline to the Tribal ministry to explore possibilities for inclusion of all remaining Sikkimese of Nepali origin as Tribals. State BJP welcomed and hailed Chamling’s memorandum to PM Narendra Modi seeking the centre’s attention. (With inputs from Sikkim correspondent)


Parties fall in line with Bimal's Tribal Effort


Kalimpong, Feb 12 GJM Chief Bimal Gurung's fresh bid to strike a joint movement with Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling in pursuance of tribal status for the entire Nepali speaking community scattered in India, has started showing signs that people crossing party lines in the hills have now started seeing things close-up. Intellectuals here have started singing the same lines, though with their own set of tunes. Kalimpong GNLF sub divisional unit President Mauris Kalikotay welcomed Gurung's move of jointly pursuing the matter with the central government. But he was quick to credit the GNLF party as being the harbinger of tribal status for the Nepali community, a demand first raised by late Subhash Ghishing. Ghishing had contended that by bringing the entire DGHC region under the sixth schedule of Indian constitution, the land would
be categorized as tribal and the populace residing under it would automatically qualify as tribals. But the very
demand shrouded the party and its leadership with mystery igniting resentment amongst the residents. The
opposition parties then took the opportunity to impregnate the local minds by spiking the sixth schedule issue
terming it as a dangerous ploy of Ghishing that would be detrimental for the local people. Ghishing too had flatly failed to take the local populace into confidence. Under such scenario, the demand for the sixth schedule also proved to be one of the reason for Subhash Ghishing and his GNLF party's swan song in the chapter of hills politics. "The demand for sixth schedule is an old stipulation of GNLF and this will forever remain our party's political stance. Referring the party in majority (GJM) Kalikotay said, ‘we always welcome those who want to support us in this matter.’ Adding further, he said that people who failed to understand the importance of sixth schedule then, now shows signs of comprehension and that is appreciated.
Advocate, Pravakar Dewan on being asked the legallogic behind the joint movement of tribal status with Sikkim CM said that it should be a political decision wherein if legal criteria followed, the real ground scenario will be investigated to determine whether the people's lifestyle here matches to that of tribals in real sense. ‘Whether Nepali speaking communities fulfills the tribal criteria or not is one part of the story and the rest is a political decision’ said Dewan adding that the ultimate thing that matters in this context is the government's will to give its nod. "If the government re- ciprocates the approach of a small community will also be considered, but if the government is rigid in its decision, the approach of entire country will reach deaf ears,"
Dewan added. Winding up the conversation Dewan said, ‘Sikkim has their assembly where it’s feasible to
pass resolutions but it’s not the case here. But all said and done, a collaborative step is always effective. Meanwhile CPRM secretary Mohan Poudyal opined that Gorkhas fall in the tribal category ‘Gurung’s indication of approaching the Chief Minister of the neighboring state and starting a collective movement might be his (Gu-rung’s) political stunt but if the step is executed responsibly it will be effective; 'Poudyal signed off.

Courtesy: Himalayan Mirror

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