11 gorkha community under a roof to fight for Scheduled Tribe status

Chowrastha in Darjeeling
Kalimpong: The Khas Janjati Sangha has decided to approach all other Gorkha communities seeking Scheduled Tribe status and seek their participation in a joint campaign to realise their common demand.
Bishnu Chhetri, the adviser to the sangha, said the idea was to get all 11 communities from across the country under one roof and launch a serious campaign to secure the tribal status for all.
Besides Khas, the other 10 communities demanding the special status are Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Rai, Sunwar, Thami, Yakkha and Dhimal.
"We have decided to approach the members of other communities and form a joint body called the Bharatiya Gorkha Janjati Sangh. We will also form a joint delegation that will go to Delhi during the next session of parliament to meet the tribal affairs minister and other officials concerned in the ministry," said Chhetri.

The demand for tribal status to the 11 communities enjoys the backing of all political parties in the hills, including the Gorkha Jamukti Morcha. The state government, too, had recommended the ST status when the UPA was in power.
In April 2016, the Union tribal affairs ministry had set up a committee under its then joint secretary, Ashok Pai, to examine the demand. However, Pai was later transferred.
Vishu Maini, the deputy director-general in the ministry, was then made the chairperson of the committee. Maini and the other committee members had visited Darjeeling last November for a field survey.
After the Maini committee failed to file a report, the tribal affairs ministry had disbanded it and instead decided to reconstitute the panel in June this year, but there has been no word about it since.
According to the norms, the ST status is granted to communities through amendments to the list of Scheduled Tribes. The Centre moves a bill in Parliament to amend the list. The ST list has nearly 700 communities.

The Telegraph

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