The Gorkhas have urged the central government to give “Other Backward Class” status to the community, an official statement said on Sunday.
A delegation of the community leaders and members from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Uttarakhand made the demand when they met union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and PMO Jitendra Singh here on Saturday.
According to the release , the minister gave a patient hearing to the delegation led by Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha president SM Moktan.
The Parisangha is a national organisation of Gorkhas in the country, the release said.
Prominent among the delegation were VB Thupu from Uttar Pradesh, DC Poudiyal and PP Pradhan from West Bengal, Guman Bhoj Limbo from New Delhi, Jagannath Koirala from Meghalaya and Bhupendra Adhikari from Uttarakhand.
Jitendra Singh, who also holds the portfolio of Youth Affairs and Sports, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, said that the Gorkha community has served the nation in most difficult times, through the thick and thin.
The community is known for valour and patriotism, he said.
The delegation leaders told the minister that out of over one crore Gorkha population in the country, over 35 lakh live in the northeastern region.
The delegation complained that in many states they are sometimes seen as foreigners or illegal settlers or non-locals.
“In many states, they complained that lack of proper documentation has also deprived them from being enlisted in voters’ list,” the release said.
They urged the minister that the Gorkhas living in the northeast may be involved in the development and economic activity in the region.
The other demands included inclusion of Gorkha language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution and introduction of Nepali language as a vernacular subject in schools and colleges.
The union minister said many of the demands put forward by them do not strictly pertain to his ministry and therefore he will forward them to the concerned departments and ministries.