Bimal camp claim on ST demand

Union Tribal Affairs minister Jual Oram and Bimal team
Sat, Dec 1, 2018

DARJEELING:  The Bimal Gurung camp of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) today claimed that Union Tribal Affairs minister Jual Oram has given an assurance to table a bill in the Parliament to grant Scheduled Tribe status to eleven Gorkha communities.
R. P. Waiba, a senior leader of the Bimal camp, said a delegation of the party met Oram in New Delhi today with a request to table the bill in the coming winter session of Parliament. “The minister told us that his ministry has completed most of the work in this regard, and the government is committed to giving the Gorkhas their due,” he said.
The 11 Gorkha communities who are demanding the tribal status are Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami, Yakkha and Dhimal.
In a release issue in social media, Waiba said the delegation informed the minister that till 1931, the entire Gorkha community living in India were regarded as hill tribes, but after the British India Act (1935) was implemented and Bengal appointed as an acting agent of the hills, the status was conveniently removed. “The 11 left-out Gorkha communities have been suffering from the injustice since as they have become marginalized socially, economically and politically,” he added.
The party said the non-recognition of the unparalleled historical, cultural and traditional backgrounds of these diverse ethnic Gorkha communities is to deny their very existence and perpetuate the historic injustice. “The delegation requested the minister to introduce a bill in the upcoming winter session of the Parliament so that this historical injustice against the Gorkha community is rectified,” the release added.
Apart from Waiba, the delegation included Darjeeling MP S. S. Ahluwalia, Ramesh Allay, youth leader Anil Lopchan and Leela Gurung, the secretary of the Himalayan Forest Villagers’ Association.
Binay Tamang, the leader of the rival Morcha camp, however, ridiculed the claim and cautioned against playing politics with the demand. “I would just like to ask how many such memorandums are needed to bring the Bill to Parliament. The BJP has already promised the Gorkhas living across the country that the 11 communities will get ST status, but why such a delay. The Prime Minister had also said that he would look into the issue while campaigning in North Bengal ahead of the 2016 Assembly elections, but has done nothing about even after three years,” he said.
Tamang said it was sad that the BJP remembers the Gorkhas only before the elections.
“We would want R. P. Waiba and his company to end this political drama and tell the people of Darjeeling Hills as to when the BJP is bringing the bill…The Bengal government has recommended the matter twice since 2914, but each time the Registrar General of India had not supported it,” he added.
“If the BJP brings the bill, we will welcome it. Our party, however, will hit the
streets of Darjeeling and Kalimpong if the bill is not tabled in the upcoming winter session,” he warned.

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi