Sanjha Morcha

China-India standoff Diplomacy rolls back clouds of war

China-India standoff

INDIA’S National Security Adviser Ajit Doval does not appear to have brought back good tidings after a visit to Beijing. The standoff on the India-Bhutan-China trijunction is likely to persist and even stretch into months unless China has a change of heart. But the interaction at the top political level may have ebbed the threat of a clash that could spiral into something worse. India’s commendable restraint, in acute short supply when it comes to Pakistan, may have played a no mean role in reorienting the resolution of the military dispute towards talks. India did not react when the Chinese media stooped to name calling Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Doval. Instead of joining battle with the Chinese media in cyberspace and losing control over the narrative, India has sought to steer the conversation back among diplomats by drawing attention to the established mechanisms for addressing the border issue. The fly in the ointment is that China may have tried to strengthen its infrastructure in a disputed area but it was doing so on its territory. So while India wants a simultaneous withdrawal of troops from both sides, China wants Indian soldiers to first walk back. Many compromise formulas have been aired such as a simultaneous withdrawal by Indian troops and the Chinese road building crew. But any withdrawal by Indian troops while the PLA stays put will mean India may lose face after having jumped in the fray on behalf of Bhutan. Can a compromise formula work in a dispute that has the imprints of a broader geostrategic competition? We will never get to know whether the differences were discussed during the closed-door meetings in Beijing. But from all indications, both sides are in for a long haul since trust and mutual understanding are at a discount. The smooth conduct of the BRICS NSAs’ meeting suggests that the border dispute may not cast a shadow on the forthcoming five-nation summit. That suggests the diplomats have succeeded in decoupling the border standoff from Sino-Indian cooperation in BRICS. In the current environment of unsettled global equations, that should be an achievement.  


The rise and fall of Nawaz Sharif by RK Kaushik

After the five-judge Bench declared Nawaz Sharif disqualified for office, forcing the Pakistan Prime Minister to step down, it might seem an end of the Sharif era in Pakistan. However, one cannot dismiss the wily political strategist who would have become the first Pakistan Prime Minister to complete a full five-year term.

Supporters of Nawaz Sharif react after the Supreme Court’s decision to disqualify him, in Lahore. The military establishment too wanted to target him. REUTERS

Victory: Activists of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party celebrate. AFP

THE judgement announced by a five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Azmat Saeed Khosa, declared Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan as disqualified (NAAHEL) for the post of the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The order of the bench, which consisted of Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ajazul Ahsan ended the era of the Sharif family in Pakistan politics.  The bench not only disqualified the Prime Minister, but also asked the NAB (National Accountability Bureau)   to decide the serious charges of corruption and money laundering against Nawaz Sharif, his brother Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Punjab Province of Pakistan, Ishaq Dar  Finance Minister, Nawaz’s two sons and daughter Maryam Safder in six months.Nawaz Sharif was born on September 25, 1949, in the house of Mohammad Sharif and lived in the Akbari  area of Lahore. His family was  of Kashmiri Brahmin origin and had migrated from Anantnag to Amritsar in 1870.  His grandfather Ramzan Sharif started living in village Jati Umra  in Tarntaran district of Punjab in India. Nawaz Sharif studied in Saint Anthony’s Convent School in Lahore and he did his Masters in economics from Government College, Lahore, in 1971— the year in which he  married Kulsoom Nawaz. Nawaz Sharif joined Tehriq-e-Istaq lal founded by Air Marshal Asghar Khan in 1972 and later joined the Muslim League in 1977. He was introduced to General Zia-ul Haq by the then Governor of Punjab Lt Gen Ghulam Jilani Khan, who was in a way his mentor and godfather in politics. Nawaz was inducted into the Punjab cabinet by Gen Jilani  as the Finance Minister in May, 1982. He became the Chief Minister of Punjab in the partyless election held under the dictatorship of General Zia-ul Haq in 1985. Nawaz Sharif, after the death of General Zia-ul Haq on August 17, 1988 formed the Muslim League and led an  alliance  of opposition parties and was defeated at the hands of Benazir Bhutto of the Pakistan Peoples Party in November, 1988. The government of  Benazir Bhutto was  toppled by President  Ghulam Ishaq Khan on August 3, 1990, which led to the Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif winning in elections  held in November, 1990. That was the time when his party had winning leaders like Shujjat Hussain,  Parvez Illahi, Hamid Nasir Chatha. Nawaz Sharif came into power in November 1990 and was asked to resign in June 1993. He again became the Prime Minister in January 1997, after toppling Benazir Bhutto’s government. He soon had a confronation with the then Army Chief General Jahagir Karamat, who was forced to resign. In his place, he choose CORP Commander Mangla Lt Gen Pervez Musharraf.  Nawaz Sharif  very stoically and confidently did atomic explosions in May, 1998. Later, he started  mending  fences with India which led to his first meeting with  the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee on  the sidelines of the  UN session in New York in September,  1998. This led to the starting of the Lahore- Delhi Bus service and also the visit by   Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Lahore in February, 1999. The Kargil War started by Musharraf put a damp squib on the bilateral ties and the relations became sour in May-June 1999. The ending of the war led to anger, nay venom, against Nawaz Sharif and he was arrested on October 12, 1999, in a  bloodless coup after a failed hijacking, for which he was tried and sentenced to death. Unlike Bhutto, he was a dexterous politician and gave it in writing to Musharraf that he would not take part in politics for 10 years and would also not come back to Pakistan for a decade. The pressure put by the then US President Bill Clinton worked and his life was saved.   He left for Saudi Arabia in November 2000. Pakistan was ruled by Musharraf through a martial law  for the next seven years.   It was a period  of peace and turmoil. Musharraf faced a vaulting agitation by lawyers throughout the country when he removed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary in the first week of March, 2007. Musharraf had to announce the election for February 2008 and allowed Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif to come back to Pakistan from Dubai and Saudi Arabia in November-December 2007. Benazir was assassinated on December 27, 2007 in Rawalpindi and Pakistan Peoples Party came to power in February 2008. Asif Ali Zardari became President and Yousuf Raza Gilani became the Prime Minister. They faced problems and agitations from Nawaz Sharif, who was ruling Punjab and was a force to reckon with. In the  elections held in May, 2013, Nawaz Sharif came back to power with a two-third majority and winning 90 per cent seats in Punjab for the National Assembly. But then his brother Shahbaz Sharif was the Chief Minister of Punjab for the fourth term.  It is pertinent to mention that Nawaz Sharif annoyed the establishment (Army and ISI) and they were looking for a chance to hit him. The cricketer-turned-politician  Imran Khan bitterly opposed Nawaz Sharif with various allegations. Finally, the Panamagate stuck in April 2016, leading to the end of era for Nawaz Sharif  on July 28, 2017.  It would not be out of tune to mention the Quran, which says, “God has his own ways of delivering justice and God gives severe  punishments.”The writer is an IAS officer of the Punjab Cadre


Pentagon urges India, China to reduce tension through direct dialogue

Pentagon urges India, China to reduce tension through direct dialogue
The standoff in the Sikkim sector is seen as part of Chinese coercive tactics to change status quo on border. File

Washington, July 22

The Pentagon has encouraged India and China to engage in a direct dialogue free of any “coercive aspects”.

“We encourage India and China to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions and free of any coercive aspects,” Gary Ross, a Defence Department spokesman said.

(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)

Over the past week, the US State Department too have been making similar statements, but Pentagon has sought direct dialogue between India and China on reducing tension “free of any coercive aspects”.

Notably, in recent past few years, almost all the Chinese neighbours have been accusing Beijing of coercive tactics to settle border disputes.

Read: China justifies construction of road in Sikkim sector

China trying to change status quo on border, says India

The month-long India-China border standoff in the Sikkim sector is seen as part of same Chinese coercive tactics to change the status quo. India has taken a strong stand against such a Chinese move.

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval heads to Beijing to attend a meeting of BRICS later this month. During his visit, Doval is expected to talk with his Chinese counterpart on this issue.

Responding to questions, the Pentagon refused to take sides on the issue.

“We refer you to the Governments of India and China for further information. We encourage India and China to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions. We are not going to speculate on such matters,” Ross said when asked if the Pentagon fears escalation of tension between India and China.

Early this week, a top Pentagon Commander told lawmakers that China is exploiting its economic leverage as a way to its regional political objectives.

“The Chinese have shown their willingness to exploit their economic leverage as a way to advance their regional political objectives. As China’s military modernisation continues, the United States and its allies and partners will continue to be challenged to balance China’s influence,” General Paul Selva, USAF, said in written response to questions to the Senate Armed Services Committee for his nominee for reconfirmation as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Selva said deterring war is an exercise in influencing China’s decision calculus, making diplomacy preferable to conflict and managing crises in such a manner that they do not unintentionally escalate.

“To do this, the Joint Force will engage with the Chinese military within Congressionally mandated limits, build alliance capacity through close cooperation, and uphold international law through appropriate operations,” he said in written response to the questions. PTI


US again lists Pak as a safe haven for terrorists

PAKISTAN DID NOT TAKE SUFFICIENT ACTION AGAINST LET AND JEM, WHICH CONTINUED TO TRAIN THERE, SAYS STATE DEPT REPORT

WASHINGTON: Pakistan remained in the dock in the Trump administration’s first worldwide assessment of terrorism and related threats, released on Wednesday, for not doing enough to combat terrorist groups and individuals operating from its soil.

The state department’s 2016 Country Reports on Terrorism named Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad(JeM), the groups behind most terror attacks in India, and the Haqqani network, which has attacked US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan, as organisations that operate from safe havens in Pakistan.

In language lifted from its previous iterations, the latest report said, “Pakistan did not take sufficient action against other externally focused groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad in 2016, which continued to operate, train, organise, and fundraise in Pakistan.”

The report stated further, “The Pakistani military and security forces undertook operations against groups that conducted attacks within Pakistan such as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (but they) did not take substantial action against the Afghan Taliban or HQN (Haqqani network), or substantially limit their ability to threaten US interests in Afghanistan…”

As before, Pakistan figured on the list of countries in the report that the US says provide safe haven to terrorist groups such as Haqqani Network, LeT and JeM.

“Although LeT is banned in Pakistan,” it said, “LeT’s wings Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation were able to openly engage in fundraising,” it said. The report said India continued to blame Pakistan for cross-border attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. In January, India experienced a terrorist attack against an Indian military facility in Pathankot, Punjab, which was blamed by authorities on JeM.


Heavy shelling in Rajouri, Poonch; soldier, 6-yr-old die Naik from Kashmir’s Tral killed; 16 schools shut indefinitely

Heavy shelling in Rajouri, Poonch; soldier, 6-yr-old die
Naik Muddasar Ahmed

Amir Karim Tantray & Shyam Sood

Tribune News Service

Jammu/Rajouri, July 17

Pakistani troops today resorted to heavy shelling in Balakote and Mankote sectors of Poonch district and also targeted Tarkundi and Manjakote sectors in Rajouri. A soldier and a six-year-old girl were killed in Tarkundi sector. Naik Muddasar Ahmed  belonged to Duchoo village in Tral, Pulwama district, whereas the girl, Sajida Kafeel, was from Barooti Dadiana village in Rajouri district.In Manjakote, Muhammad Sharief and his wife Shah Begum of Panjgrain village were injured in heavy  shelling. Shah Begum’s condition was said to be critical. Defence spokesperson Lt Col Manish Mehta said the Pakistani troops opened unprovoked fire on Indian posts in Rajouri sector at 7.30 am. The Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively. In the exchange of fire, Naik Muddasar Ahmed (37) was grievously injured when mortar shells landed on his bunker. He later succumbed to his injuries. He is survived by his wife Shaheena Muddasar and two children.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)“Naik Muddasar Ahmed was a brave soldier. He loved his job to the core. The nation will remain indebted to him for his supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty,” Lt Col Mehta said.Several villages have been affected by the heavy shelling. The district administration has had to shut at least 16 schools for an indefinite period. At least 120 students trapped inside a school in Panjgrain have been evacuated. Pakistani troops also violated the ceasefire agreement in Bhimber Gali sector of Poonch district. Rajouri DC Shahid Iqbal Choudhary held a meeting with locals at Panjgrain and briefed them on the arrangements made for setting up camps in case of evacuation, ration and medicine supplies.Pakistani troops also resorted to unprovoked firing at three villages in Kamalkote area of Uri in Baramulla later in the day, defence sources said. One soldier was injured. Media reports in Pakistan said four Pakistani soldiers were killed on Sunday when their jeep, hit by a shell, fell into a river.

Reserve right to retaliate: DGMO

  • New Delhi: India’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) on Monday made it clear to his Pakistani counterpart that the Indian Army was sincere in maintaining peace along the Line of Control as long as Pakistan reciprocated. However, the Army will retaliate to any firing from across the LoC. DGMO Lt Gen AK Bhatt told Pakistani counterpart Maj Gen Sahir S Mirza over the hotline that the “Indian Army reserved the right to retaliate appropriately to any violation of ceasefire”. Army spokesperson Col Aman Anand said the DGMO pointed out that all violations of the 2003 ceasefire were initiated by the Pakistan army. The Pak DGMO said four soldiers had died in Indian firing in PoK opposite the Keran sector in Kupwara. TNS

No room for talks now, says China

SEEING RED China calls Ladakh a disputed region; says India should pull back troops from Doklam to avoid embarrassment

THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT CHINA HAS CLEARLY ARTICULATED THROUGH ONE OF ITS PRIMARY OFFICIAL CHANNELS

BEIJING: With no end in sight to the standoff in the Sikkim sector, China on Saturday said there is “no room” for negotiations to resolve the military face-off and the only solution is the withdrawal of Indian troops from the Donglang or Doklam region.

HT FILEThe commentary sought to add yet another dimension to the face­off by bringing in the Ladakh region and linking it to Pakistan, China’s “iron brother” ally.India will face “embarrassment” if it does not withdraw its border troops to its own side and the situation could get “worse”, the official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary on Saturday night.

“China has made it clear that there is no room for negotiations on this incident, and India must withdraw its border-crossing troops from Doklam. For China, border line is the bottom line,” the commentary said.

The commentary sought to add yet another dimension to the faceoff by bringing in the Ladakh region and linking it to Pakistan, China’s “iron brother” ally.

“India should not regard the existing situation as the same as or even similar to the previous two standoffs in 2013 and 2014 near Ladakh, a disputed area between China, Pakistan and India in southeastern Kashmir. Diplomatic efforts led the troop’s frictions there to a well-arranged end. But this time it is a totally different case,” it added.

It is rare for China to call Ladakh a “disputed” region and make a reference to Kashmir.

This is the first time that China has clearly articulated – through one of its primary official channels – that there is no room for parleys to resolve the weeks-long impasse in Donglang, which is under China’s control but claimed by Bhutan.

Until now, the foreign ministry had listed the withdrawal of Indian troops hinted as a precondition for resolving the face-off but had hinted there is an ongoing effort to end it through diplomatic negotiations.

Xinhua is an organ of the Chinese government and is affiliated to the State Council, the Communist country’s cabinet.

Commentaries published by Xinhua and the People’s Daily, the Communist Party of China (CPC) mouthpiece, are taken to be a reflection of the government’s and the all-powerful CPC’s thoughts.

“India has repeatedly ignored China’s call for pulling its bordercrossing troops from Doklam area back to its own territory. However, turning a deaf ear to China will but worsen the monthlong standoff and put itself further into embarrassment,” the commentary said.

It added that India had “lied” to the world by saying it dispatched troops to Donglang to help its ally Bhutan, whereas “apparently” Thimphu had extended no invitation to New Delhi to intervene.

“New Delhi claimed encroachment of its own territory by China before saying it sent troops to ’protect’ its ‘ally’ Bhutan, a sovereign state which has apparently so far made no such an invitation for the sake of that boundary area,” it said.

Bhutan and China don’t have diplomatic ties but have held 24 rounds of talks to resolve a boundary dispute.

The commentary, however, described foreign secretary S Jaishankar’s remarks during a recent speech in Singapore as a “positive” sign.

“As an old Chinese saying goes, peace is most precious. It has been noticed that Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar recently has made positive remarks in Singapore, saying that ‘India and China should not let differences become disputes’,” it said. “What China would like to see more are corresponding actions taken by India.

“China has a will to solve the problem peacefully by diplomatic means, and China also cherishes the peace and serenity in the border areas, but the precondition is that the trespassers of India must withdraw unconditionally.”


MAJ GEN SATBIR SINGH ::ISSUE RECEIPTS TO VETERANS FOR DONATEDAMOUNTS TO UFEM FOR TAX EXEMPTION–Part V

medals

No doubts that veterans have donated in thousands and in Lakhs for the cause of OROP. Donations contributions were given by the veterans in the Name of UFESM but you played dirty and because of your non-transparency in collections and expenditure and where are you depositing the donations as IESM accounts were seized hence  the organisations like IESL, had to part with due to your attitude and not giving accounts of the collections.

 Wg Cdr CK Sharma the treasure along with Lt Pandey your security company employ were collecting the donations in cash. At the end of the day you collected all the collection and personally took along with you.

There was more emphasizes on the filling up of IESM member ship forms to regularize the donation but veterans who donated and had the right to ask for proper receipts were made fools that the proper receipt of UFESM will be send at their home address or collect them next time as printing was under way. No amount bwas deposited in UFESM account as it fragmented but you kept all veterans in dark about the fragmented UFESM .Later you termed the UFESM(JM) to further fool the veterans of the Nation because UFESM got registered under the President ship of Col Charanjit Singh Khera(Retd). However on the cheques you got it in the name of IESM reissued from the donors from UFESM and they were only deposited in the account.

Till date you have not disclosed where is the Cash donated amount of Veterans and the Donation received from Abroad in crores had been deposited in personal acconuts along with your team as alleged and information recieved and in circulations among veterans.

Maj Gen Satbir must provide why Veterans have been deprived off to obtain Tax Relief in the IT return .

Untitled

The Contents of the CK Sharma  Email speaks volumes of your deception plan of concealing the amounts of Donations till date

On Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 10:24 am, CK Sharma seekayess@gmail.com [IESM_GovBody]
<IESM_GovBody@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
Dear Veteran
Please be advised that none of these donation entries have been made in IESM records. Did you fill the Donation Forms?
I suspect that you did not and, as such, the entries were not duly made.
For any further clarification, please feel free to get in touch with Maj Gen Satbir Singh on the matter.
__________________
Wg Cdr CK Sharma
22nd NDA :: 84th PC
Treasurer, IESM
Untitled
On 11 July 2017 at 08:19, Swarajinder Singh <swarajindersingh@gmail.com> wrote:
Dear Sir,
On 30 Apr 2017 four of us as under had jointly donated 11000 at Jantar Mantar:
May I request for Income Tax Exemption Certificate under 80 G for my share of 2750.
Brig B S Gill
Brig S S Jaswal
Col Pradeep Garg
Lt Col Swarajinder Singh
Regards,
Lt.Col.Swarajinder Singh,
9876744261
Untitled
.

 


On Burhan death anniv, Army holds match in his home dist

On Burhan death anniv, Army holds match in his home dist
Pinglana Warriors with the trophy in Pulwama on Saturday. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 9

While the Valley observed a complete shutdown on the death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, the Army organised a series of events for the youth in volatile south Kashmir.The Army organised the final of a cricket tournament yesterday in Pulwama — the home district of Burhan Wani.The Pulwama-based Army camp conducted the final of the Sher-e-Kashmir Inter-Village Cricket Tournament on Saturday. The final was played between Pinglana Warriors and Awantipora Sports XI at the Panzgom cricket ground, an Army spokesman said. Pinglana won by 30 runs.“The game organised amid the various calls given by the separatists on the death anniversary of slain militant Burhan Wani is a reflection of the increasing trust and confidence of the locals in the armed forces, desirable and warranted to bring peace and tranquillity in the Valley,” an Army spokesman said, adding that 16 teams of Pulwama district participated in the tournament that commenced on July 1.In neighbouring Shopian and Kulgam districts, the Army organised a cricket tournament and a trekking trip for a number of youths.“Despite a shutdown, around 250 youths from the volatile areas of Kulgam and Shopian participated in the cricket and trekking events,” an Army officer said.Similar events were held by the Army in central Kashmir’s Budgam district. Victor Force GOC Major General BS Raju said the events were held despite a shutdown.“By holding these events, a message has been conveyed that a large population is not subscribing to separatists and they are ready to take their neck out and be a part of the programmes which show normalcy,” Major General BS Raju said.

‘Goodwill’ events across Valley

  • The Army also organised a cricket tournament and a trekking trip in Shopian and Kulgam districts
  • Despite shutdown, a number of youths took part in the events, showing that they too wanted normalcy, said Victor Force GOC Major General BS Raju

Who Are The Gorkhas written by a non Gorkha Col Sarbjit Singh

Please share it with your non Gorkha friends to let them know about our history and about the Gorkhaland movement.Image result

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Gorkhas are Very Much Indians like you and me. They are backbone of Indian Army from Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Times . Do not be misguided by politicians, issue needs to be resolved before it takes ugly turn .

Many people across India are curious about the Gorkhaland issue, but most of them do not know about the issue very well and are of the false impression that Gorkhaland is a demand by the Gorkhas for separation from India. Hence, the following paragraphs below would help those, who are not familiar with the Gorkhaland issue.

As one will read the story, they can view that the demand for Gorkhaland is a just and moral demand for the creation of the state of Gorkhaland within the geographical and constitutional contours of India.

To make it for an easy read , someone has  made a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), which has been answered, thus acting as a guide to Gorkhaland issue.

Q. Who are Gorkhas in the Indian context?
A. The ‘Gorkhas’ in the Indian context are Indian citizens of Nepali ethnicity, who live across the length and breadth of India. The term ‘Gorkha’ in the Indian context is used to differentiate the Indian citizens of Nepali ethnicity from the citizens of Nepal, who prefer to be called ‘Nepalese.’

Many a time, people mistake the Indian ‘Gorkhas’ with Nepalese ‘Gorkhali’. It is to be noted that in terms of Nepal, ‘Gorkhali’ refers to the people from the ‘Gorkha’ region. However, the use of the term ‘Gorkha’ in the Indian context is very different than in Nepal’s context. Therefore, the term ‘Gorkha’ refers to different groups of people depending on the country they are being used in reference to.

Q. Did the Gorkhas immigrate to India?
A. Majority of the people who identify themselves as ‘Gorkhas’ in India are sons and daughters of the soil, and their forefathers ‘came with the land.’ They did not immigrate to India. However, it is well recognized that there are many immigrants from Nepal, who have also settled in India, post-independence.

Q. What do you mean by ‘came with the land’?
A.The Nepali kingdom in the 17th and 18th Century was spread all over the Himalayas. In the year 1777, Nepal had appropriated the Kingdom of Sikkim (that included most of the present day Darjeeling district) in the east and had also successfully invaded and conquered the Kingdoms of Kumaon, Garhwal and Kangra in the west. The Nepali Kingdom was spread from the east of rivers Teesta to the west of river Sutlej.
However, following the Anglo-Nepal war of 1814-1816, Nepal agreed to cede most of the Terai region, the lands of Sikkim, Kumaon, Garhwal and Kangra to the British through the Treaty of Sugauli (Sugauli Sandhi), which was signed on 4 March 1816. After the Anglo-British war of 1865, the British appropriated the lands that are today known as Kalimpong and Dooars. Therefore, all the people of Nepali, Sikkimese and Bhutanese origin, who were living in these tracts automatically came under the British and subsequently under India (after the British left), hence the term – ‘came with the land.’

Q. Were there Gorkhas in Darjeeling region prior to the British coming to India?
A.Recorded history shows that the region was inhabited as early as the 9th century. When Guru Padmasambhava had passed through this region in the 9th century, he had established Buddhism in the region – which indicates the presence of people living in the area way, before the British ever landed in Asia.
In the Indian context, the word ‘Gorkha’ is an umbrella term used to identify a varied group of people, as one unified entity, in terms of Darjeeling, communities such as the Róng – Lepchas, the Tsong – Limbus, the Kirat – Rai, the Dukpas and the Magars are the aboriginal/ethnic/native people of the region, who constitute a large chunk of the ‘Gorkha’ people living in the Darjeeling region. Hence, it can be safely said that the majority of the ‘Gorkhas,’ who belong to these communities and are living in Darjeeling, ethnic to the region.
In addition, other groups of people such as the Gurungs, Thapas, Chettris, Newars, Sunwars, Bahuns, Kamis, Damais, Sarkis, Bhutias, Thamis etc., came to the region following subsequent wars. For instance, the establishment of the Kingdom of Sikkim in 1642 brought in a large Bhutia population from Tibet and Bhutan into the region. Similarly, the Nepali incursions starting from as early as 1700s brought many present day Nepalis to the region. Hence, it can be safely concurred that the ‘Gorkha’ presence far supersedes the British arrival in the region.

Q. What historical claims does West Bengal have over the Darjeeling-Dooars region?
A.Ironically None! There is no shared history between the Darjeeling-Dooars region, and the rest of West Bengal till the year 1935. The only common thread that connects Darjeeling and the rest of Bengal prior to 1935 is that they shared a common Governor (for administrative ease).
It is interesting to note that following the partition of Bengal in 1905, the administration of Darjeeling was handed over to the Bhagalpur Division in Bihar Presidency between 1905-1907, following which a demand for a separate administrative unit for the Darjeeling-Dooars region (a la Separate State in today’s term) was first raised by the Hillmen’s Association in 1907, making the demand for a separate state constituting the hills, Terai and Dooars region the oldest demand for statehood in India.
The only reason as to why such a demand was not entertained by the British Government, is because the Darjeeling and Dooars region were already declared a “non-regulated area”, which meant that the rules and laws developed for the rest of India would not be automatically applicable to the region.

Q. Why is Darjeeling a part of West Bengal?
A.The Darjeeling region only became a part of West Bengal Presidency in the year 1935, when it was required to send an elected member to the Bengal Legislative Assembly. It was done purely for the then administrative ease, as the British could control the Darjeeling region better from Bengal than from Bhagalpur in Bihar.

Q. Why are people in Darjeeling demanding Gorkhaland?
A.The demand for a separate administrative unit (separate state in today’s term) for the Darjeeling region had started as early as 1907. However, the influx of Bangladeshi refugees starting in 1965 and later state sponsored illegal immigrants from Bangladesh post-1971 for vote bank by subsequent West Bengal governments led to marginalization of the ethnic Gorkha, Kamtapuri and the Rajbanshi communities of the region. The demand for Gorkhaland is a demand to protect the identity, culture, history, traditions and the rich bond of people from Darjeeling region, which they share with their land.
Furthermore, the Gorkhas from the Darjeeling region have continued to be labeled by the fascist and state sponsored Bengali organizations such as Bangla O Bangla Bhasa Bachao Samity, Amra Bangali, Jan Jagaran Morcha, Jan Chetna Morcha as illegal immigrants and the demand for Gorkhaland illegal. They have rendered the ethnic Gorkha people as an intruder in his/her own ancestral lands. This has caused widespread socio-economic and political marginalization of the Gorkhas. All these factors have resulted in the Gorkhas being under-represented, stereotyped and communally discriminated in almost all sectors.
Moreover, Bengal has always been colonial in its approach to this region. The large revenues collected from Darjeeling region have been used to develop other parts of Bengal, while neglecting even the basic infrastructure in the region.
Case in point: the National Highway 55, which used to be the artery connecting the hills of Darjeeling to the rest of India, has been closed due to land slide since 2009 and the West Bengal government has done nothing to rebuild it. Last year alone, there were over 20 malnutrition related death (death due to starvation) reported from the Dooars region and yet the West Bengal government did nothing to alleviate the sufferings of the people in the region.

Q. Is the proposed Gorkhaland region economically viable?
A.The proposed Gorkhaland region is rich in bio-diversity, scenic views, hydro potentials, tourism, NTFP, Tea and numerous other resources. Darjeeling Tea has been accorded the Geographical Indicator status recently by the WTO, which has caused the price of Darjeeling Tea to double in the world market. The demand for tea from the Dooars region is also at an all time high. Even the most conservative estimates put the revenue potential from tea, tourism and hydro from the proposed Gorkhaland area at over 1600 Crores per annum. It is estimated that the revenues from Tea and Tourism alone will make the proposed Gorkhaland region a revenue surplus state.  The revenues collected from hydro development, NTFP, cross-border trades and other resources will make the proposed state of Gorkhaland as one of the most economically vibrant states in India.

Q. Is the demand for Gorkhaland illegal?
A. No, to demand for a separate state is the democratic right of every Indian citizen, and the formation of new states is enshrined in our constitution.
Article 3 of the Indian constitution specifically deals with the issues regarding the formation of new states:
Article 3. Formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States—Parliament may by law—
(a) form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States or parts of States or by uniting any territory to a part of any State;
(b) increase the area of any State;
(c) diminish the area of any State;
(d) alter the boundaries of any State;
(e) alter the name of any State:
Hence, the demand for Gorkhaland is a legitimate demand.

Q. Why is West Bengal opposed to the formation of Gorkhaland?
A. The state of West Bengal is one of the most economically backward states in India. Even though, it is the 5th largest in terms of its size, but due to the high debt burden of over Rs. 2.5 lakh Crores, West Bengal is practically bankrupt and is highly dependent on the Central Government and the revenues generated from the proposed Gorkhaland region for its sustenance and economic survival. A conservative estimate indicated that if the proposed Gorkhaland state is formed, West Bengal is expected to lose over 40% of its revenue stream.
So despite all the rhetoric stating, “Darjeeling is Bengal’s Abhinno Aanga,” Bengal is scared of loosing its hen, which is currently laying the golden eggs. It is scared of losing the cash cow that has continued to discount the development of Bengal’s other regions over and over since independence.
Further, Bengal has always held a parochial, colonial and discriminatory attitude towards the proposed Gorkhaland region and continues to do so. Late. Subash Chakraborty a Minister in the CPI(M) Government had said to the Gorkhas “khetey diyechi, sutey chai?” [Meaning: “we have given you food to eat, now you want a space to sleep?”] Hinting that the Bengalis have been benevolent towards the Gorkhas in allowing the Gorkhas to live in Bengal, while ungraciously ignoring the fact that the Gorkhas are ethnic to the land. Similarly, many Bengali scholars [such as Sumanta Sen of The Telegraph] and politicians [such as Dr. Mukund Majumdar and Mr. Ashok Bhattacharjee] continue to call the ethnic Gorkhas foreigners and intruders, which gives a sense of insecurity amongst the ethnic Gorkhas – thus, the demand for Gorkhaland.


PRAYERS FOR WG CDR DHILLON; CM INVITED

PATIALA: The two-day antim ardas (final prayer) for wing commander Mandeep Singh Dhillon, who died in a chopper crash during a rescue sortie last week in Arunachal Pradesh, began at his house in Patiala on Saturday. Squadron leader PS Dhillon (retd), father of the Indian Air Force officer, urged CM Capt Amarinder Singh to attend. On July 4, Dhillon, the commanding officer of the Tezpur-based advanced light helicopter (ALH) unit, met with a tragic end. He is survived by wife Prabhpreet Kaur Dhillon, daughter Sehaj and son Eshar.