Article 35A haunts Gorkhas

The Gorkhas, who have stood up innumerable times for the defense of this state, have been left, today, as a suffering community, in need of support for survival. Like few other sections of the state, they are devoid of their basic human rights, fundamental rights and even legal rights, with Article 35A being the major reason.

They have faced continued discrimination in the state with their miseries increasing manifold post-independence. Poor and mostly illiterate, the people of this community are rendered helpless when it comes to proving their identity. The small community, comprising about five percent of the total state population has been reduced to a vote bank, for it also lacks a political representative.

"We were born here yet we are treated as foreigners. We did not come in ‘dahej' with Rani Yasho Rajya Lakshmi, the wife of Dr. Karan Singh. They do not believe our state subject documents, even if we have them," says Kamal Rana, a Gorkha journalist.

"A leader or representative is strongly needed to plead our cause, or the present situation of neglect and apathy will continue to grow unchecked and the community of valiant soldiers will continue to suffer, in the very state, for which their forefathers have shed blood and sacrificed lives," says Karuna Chhetri, a member of the Gorkha Sabha.


Indian Army - Not a sole employment anymore

Not having Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC), the Gorkhas can not avail any state government benefits in education or employment.

"I could not continue my studies after 12th because my father's income as a ‘subedar' in army was not enough. To support my family, I learnt cooking and started selling momos, "says Sahil Gurung, who could not join military, the only employment option for the men of the community, because PRC has now become necessary for joining Indian Army also."They ask for huge sum of money, approximately, Rs 50,000, for PRC," he quips.

The situation of the martial community has changed for the worst, as Rana reveals, "Youth, due to unemployment, have indulged themselves in illegal activities like drugs and gambling."


Gorakh Nagar cries for development

In 1962, Government of Ghulam Mohammad Bakshi conceded to allot plots of three marlas each, on lease for residential purpose at Rakh Bahu, now known as Gorakh Nagar, as a matter of special favor for their military services.

But the locality has always been neglected. It lacks basic amenities like sanitation, cleanliness, electricity, medical facility, etc. The ‘properly regularized colony' tag is difficult to achieve, with families growing in that provided area, who have now resorted to encroachment and illegal construction of houses.

"Gorakh Nagar is inhabited by Gorkhas and Dogras, with different electricity phases for both the communities. We are discriminated in power supply too," a resident said. "Every house and shop here does not have a legal electricity connection because the government does not give us connection, and then they come here to ask for ‘hafta'." he adds.

What do Gorkhas demand?

  • PRC to all those Gorkhas who are permanently settled here and have constructed houses on govt. allotted plots.
  • Representation in state legislative council through nomination.
  • Including their community in Schedule Tribe or OBC, to avail the reservation facility in the state, and come out of the socio-economic backwardness.
  • On account of the military aptitude of the Gorkhas, seat reservation of atleast five percent in Sainik schools.
  • Development of Gorkha Nagar

 

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Author

Harry Walia