New Delhi: Assuring the Gorkha community of redressing its long standing issue of lack of proper residential status papers, the Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh has said the valiant fighters have served the nation in difficult times.
Dr Singh, who is Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Youth Affairs and Sports, Prime Minster’s Office(PMO), Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, met a delegation of ‘Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha’ a national organization of Gorkhas in India, who called on him here on Saturday for redressal of their long pending issues.
“The Gorkha community has served the nation in most difficult times, through thick and thin, and the stories of their bravery, valour and patriotism are an example for others,” Dr Singh said during the meeting.
The delegation, led by its National President S.M. Moktan, sought Minister’s intervention, particularly considering the fact that out of over one crore Gorkha population in whole of India today, the major portion of over 35 lakh lives in the North East alone.
The members of delegation brought up the issue of proper documents being provided to the members of the community to certify that they are permanent residents of the region. In the absence of such documents, they complained, they are sometimes seen as foreigners or illegal settlers or non-locals. And in many States, lack of such documentation has also deprived them from being enlisted in voters list.
They also demanding Other Backward Class (OBC) status for Gorkha community, and requested for fair share in various incentives and avenues. They also urged that the Gorkhas living in the North East states may be involved in the development and economic activity in the region. The other demands put forward by the delegation included the request to list their language Nepali in the Eighth Schedule of Constitution and introduce the same as a subject in schools and colleges.
Dr Singh gave a patient hearing to the delegation and said his Ministry of DoNER recognises their sensitivities and added that he will also forward their demands to the departments and ministries concerned.
Prominent members of the delegation included V.B. Thupu from Uttar Pradesh, D.C. Poudiyal and P.P. Pradhan from West Bengal, Guman Bhoj Limbo from New Delhi, Jagannath Koirala from Meghalaya and Bhupendra Adhikari from Uttarakhand.
Gorkhas are Nepali speaking people living in India, distinguished from Gurkhas who are Nepali speaking people living in Nepal. They essentially mountainous people spread across Himalayan range from Himachal to North East with highest concentration in the latter.
The marginalised section of community is now spurred by the recent Government move to grant citizenship to Hindus and other minority communities who are living along the border for years as disenfranchised people fleeing atrocities in Pakistan. The Gorkhas also want their citizenship status should be settled once for all.
Pradeep Rana has worked for over 16 years with The Times Of India, PTI, and Indian Express before joining Japanese channel NHK World as South Asia correspondent. At Times of India he has been awarded for best medical reporting. Later, he moved to US Embassy in Delhi as Media Analyst. He has been editor of a medical book and magazines on travel, pets, and technology. A wildlife and nature enthusiast, well travelled in Himachal, Uttarakhand and North East.