Enos Das Pradhan
Kalimpong, Oct. 2: The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, an apolitical outfit and a constituent in the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee, has alleged that Christians among Gorkhas were not being given Gorkha certificates for almost a year.
Parisangh national president Enos Das Pradhan said he had received many complaints from Christian Gorkhas that the “state government has stopped giving Gorkha certificates” to them. He said this was a divisive tactic of the government.
Darjeeling district magistrate Puneet Yadav said he had not received any complaint on the matter.
Pradhan said the certificate, which helps Gorkhas when they apply for defence and police jobs, was being denied to Christians “on the basis of a clarification issued by the Anthropological Survey of India on September 10, 2004, on who the Gorkhas are. The copy of the same was also made public by the state home department on July 16, 2006.”
He quoted the ASI letter stating: “Gorkhas belonged to both Hindu and Buddhist fold and also admixture of both the religions...”
He said describing a community in terms of religion was a divisive move as religion has nothing to do with the socio-economic identity of a community. “The state has already created a division between Gorkhas and Lepchas and now it appears to be trying to create similar division in the Gorkha community by denying certificates to the Christians,” Pradhan said.
“I appeal to fellow Christians in the country to oppose the policy to divide communities on the basis of religion,” said Pradhan, former secretary of the Church of North India and advisor to the Gorkhaland Task Force.
District magistrate Yadav said: “If someone gives me specific information, I will have to get it checked. As of now, I have not received any complaint (on Christians not being issued Gorkha certificates),” he said.
“If there is such a guideline or instruction then all SDOs would have a copy. The certificates are issued by subdivisional officers,” he said.
Rev. Roshan Thapa, vice-president of the Darjeeling United Christian Minority, said the certificates were not being issued to Christians for a year and they had taken up the matter with Yadav’s predecessor Saumitra Mohan. “I know many people who have been denied the certificates.”
North Bengal development minister Gautam Deb said: “I have not heard of Gorkha Christians being denied certificates. If there are specific cases, I will take up the matter. If these cases are brought to me, I will take up the matter with the right ministry. The state has no policy to distinguish people based on religion.”