GTA, GNLF bat for inclusion of Gorkha sub-communities in ST list

GTA BOA chief Binay Tamang
Darjeeling: Inclusion of Gorkha sub-communities in the Scheduled Tribe list issue, at present occupies the centre stage of Hill politics. While Binay Tamang, chairman of the Board of Administrators, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, on Thursday shot a letter to Union ministers to this effect, the Gorkha National Liberation Front is sending a delegation to Delhi to pursue the issue. "We have sent letters to the Union Home minister and Tribal Affairs minister to take up the issue and expedite the process. We have also sent a request letter to Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, to pursue the matter," stated Tamang.

The GTA chairman stated that during his talks with Chief Minister Chamling on March 27 in Gangtok, the CM had assured that he would write to Delhi to this effect and even pursue the matter personally. "West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already sent recommendations to Delhi for the inclusion of 11 Gorkha communities in the ST list, after the matter was passed in the Bengal Assembly in February 2014. During her last visit to Darjeeling, we had raised the issue. She stated that she had already taken up the issue and that a committee had visited the hills to study the ground situation. We then apprised her that no physical verification has taken place yet. Following this, the state government had sent a fresh recommendation again on February 16, 2018," stated Tamang.

He stated that he will also be visiting Delhi soon to pursue the issue. The GNLF, while addressing the Press in Darjeeling on Thursday, stated that they will be sending a team to Delhi to pursue the issue. "We demand that all left out Gorkha sub-communities have to be included in the ST list. Even the sub-communities included in the Scheduled Caste list have to be delisted and included in the ST list, as it was in 1931," stated Neeraj Zimba, GNLF spokesperson.

In 1931, there was a gazette notification declaring the entire Gorkha population as Hill Tribes. In 1954, they were delisted. Based on the 1931 notification, late Subash Ghising, the erstwhile president of GNLF, had raised the demand of inclusion of all the left out Gorkha sub-communities in the ST list and inclusion of the Darjeeling hills in the 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution. "We are merely demanding a relisting. Even Prime Minister Modi has given his assurance to this effect. The West Bengal government has done the needful and already sent two recommendations. The ball is now in the Centre's court. Time has come to see how committed BJP and Prime Minister Modi is to the Gorkha cause," added Zimba.

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