Kurseong, 2 July
Protesting against non-reservation of seats for the Scheduled Caste community people residing in the Darjeeling Hills, the All India Nepali Schedule Caste Association has demanded reservation. The outfit has launched several agitations in support of the demand for SC reservation in the GTA Sabha and now it has resorted to a posture campaign throughout the Hills.
The association has expressed its unhappiness with the GTA Sabha having done nothing to provide any sort of reservation to the SC community in the Hills. This amounts to heaping scorn on the Constitutional provision for reservation of the SC people, runs the critical refrain.
A senior leader of the association and its Kurseong sub-division president, Mr Kamal Sriwal said the association and its members had played an important role in the formation of the GJMM. “We extended support to the GJMM when it was leading its stir for Gorkhaland. But surprisingly enough, despite our enormous contribution to the GJMM and its agitation, they have not taken initiative to reserve seats for us in the GTA Sabha,” he added.
The leader further said that their demand is in consonance with the Constitution of India. “Seats are reserved for the SC community in every department of the collective life in the country ranging from the Parliament to the rural bodies. It is thus all the more unfortunate that the GTA Sabha has remained apathetic to the demand for reservation. The same nonchalance has manifested in the SC people being given a short shrift in matters of recruitment of the primary teachers as made by the GTA Sabha. Some of our people have been recruited but it was on their own and the roster that should have been followed was not applied,” he said.
He also added that before the DGHC was formed, the Schedule Caste people had been getting all forms of reservations and privileges as provided by the Constitution. “But once the DGHC came into being all forms of rosters stopped following Government norms and the same trend is being repeated in the GTA,” he said.
He claimed that they have served several memorandums to the GTA Sabha chief Mr Bimal Gurung but to no avail.
He informed that the Schedule Caste people and Scheduled Tribes constitute around 44 per cent of the total population in the Hills. “But there is no single representation in the 45-member GTA Sabha. Besides the 45 normal elective seats, the GTA also has five nominated seats out of which one seat each is bound to be provided to the Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribe category people. However, even here, there is no reservation in the GTA Sabha. Two persons, Dipen Mallay and Kajiman Lohagun belong to the SC, but they were elected on their own,” he said.
He threatened a more intense stir if their reservation demand is not heeded to.