Union committee holds meeting in Gangtok on tribal status demand

Union committee holds meeting in Gangtok on tribal status demand
Wed, Jan 9, 2019

Staff Reporter

GANGTOK: The Union government appointed committee on examining the tribal status demand of the 11 left-out communities of Sikkim held a consultation meeting at Chintan Bhawan here on Tuesday.
Chairperson Meera Ranjan Tshering is heading the three-member committee of Ministry of Tribal Affairs which will also visit Darjeeling on January 10. The Chintan Bhawan meeting organised by the Social Welfare department was attended by State government officials and representatives of the 11 left-out Nepali communities of Sikkim seeking tribal status.
T.N. Sharma, the chairman of the State government-constituted expert committee for replying to the comments of ORGI on the tribal status demand, spoke with SIKKIM EXPRESS after the daylong meeting.
Sharma said the State government, expert committee and representatives of the 11-left communities made their submissions to the Centre committee regarding the tribal status demand. We reiterated our stand for tribal status as submitted to the previous two committees formed by the Centre to examine the demand, he said.
It was informed that the committee wanted to learn if there are any additional inputs or new submissions to be made on the tribal status demand.
In his keynote address, Sharma presented synopsis and the background of the demand of eleven left out ethnic communities of Sikkim. The demand of left-out ethnic communities of Sikkim is bonafide demand based on historical, sociological and constitutional justification, he submitted.
At the meeting, the State representatives submitted about the Sikkim Summit for Tribal Status held last May 3-4 in Gangtok. The summit was organised by Eleven Indigenous Ethnic Communities of Sikkim (EIECOS) in collaboration with Sikkim Commission for Backward Classes and Social Welfare department.
At the summit, scholars and experts had held deliberations on the tribal status demand and a Gangtok Resolution was adopted endorsing the demand.
Sharma informed that documents recording the proceedings of the summit were placed before the Union committee today. He had made the keynote address at the meeting which also had leaders of different communities speaking to support their case for inclusion in the ST list.
The committee chairperson assured to give an honest report to the Centre, said Sharma. The committee is making three field visits tomorrow and then leave for Darjeeling, he informed.
Earlier at the meeting, EIECOS chairman Dr. S.K. Rai presented a brief report of EIECOS and how it has been trying for the tribal status of the 11 left-out communities of Sikkim for over one decade.
Dr. Rajen Upadhaya gave a power point presentation on historical aspect of 11 communities.
Meanwhile, SKM vice president T.N. Dhakal has said the tribal status demand for the 11 left-out communities of Sikkim would not happen before the 2019 elections.
Speaking at a media conference earlier today, Dhakal said the demand would not be fulfilled before the upcoming polls. The new committee is just a ploy to keep the demand lingering, he said.

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
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