Citing Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw’s famous observation “if a man says he is not afraid of dying, then he is either lying or a Gorkha”, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh said here today that the Gorkha community has served the nation through thick and thin, and their sacrifices are an example for others to follow. He was speaking to a delegation of ‘Asom Gorkha Sammelan’ led by its President, Shri Arun Upadhyaya, who called on the Minister to represent some of the long pending grievances of the community.
Among the various issues put forth before Dr. Jitendra Singh, the delegation claimed that in the North Eastern Region of India, the history of ‘Assam Rifles’ and the ‘Gorkha Regiment’ is indeed the history of the bravery of Gorkha soldiers but unfortunately in recent times, the recruitment of Gorkha youth in India’s defence forces has declined. This is partly because of the reason that a Gorkha domicile certificate is expected from them. In addition, as per the gazette notification, the word ‘Nepali’ is used synonymously for a Gorkha individual and it creates confusion for the recruiting agencies. They demanded that the Gorkha Community Certificate issued by the ‘Asom Gorkha Sammelan’ should be honoured for the purpose of employment or recruitment to defence forces.
In a memorandum submitted to the DoNER Minister, the Asom Gorkha leaders also demanded Scheduled Tribes (ST) status for their community and creation of autonomous council constituency comprising Gorkha inhabited areas.
The other demands made in the memorandum included setting up of a Gorkha cultural and heritage centre and simplification of the process for inclusion of Gorkha community members in the National Register of Citizens.
Dr. Jitendra Singh gave a patient hearing and said, he would personally follow up the issues falling within the purview of his Ministry whereas the other issues will be taken up with the concerned Departments and Ministries.