Seminar on Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty Held in Kalimpong

Clearing the Air Surrounding Article 7 of Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty

A seminar jointly organized by the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP) and DDUDF was held in Kalimpong Town Hall to discuss the ramifications of Article 7 of Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty and the ensuing identity crisis felt by the Indian Gorkhalis.

Seminar on Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty Held in Kalimpong
Seminar on Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty Held in Kalimpong

Many experts have opined that the question of ‘identity’ plaguing Indian Gorkhas is mostly emanated from the Article 7 of the Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship (1950) which reads, “The Governments of India and Nepal agree to grant, on a reciprocal basis, to the nationals of one country in the territories of the other the same privileges in the matter of residence, ownership of property, participation in trade and commerce, movement and other privileges of a similar nature,” which makes it difficult to identify the Indian citizens of Nepali ethnicity Vs. the Nepali citizens who have immigrated to India for work and livelihood purposes.

The seminar which lead by a discussion panel that consisted of DDUDF Chief Dr. Mahendra P Lama, Bhatariya Gorkha Parisangh National President Dr Enos Das Pradhan, Kalimpong MLA Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri, Brig. C S Thapa (retd) and Col D S Kharga from Dehradun, Mr. B B Chettri from Meghalaya, BGP Spokesperson Mr Nityananda Upadhaya from Assam, and Mr Pashupati Sharma in the panel, saw participation from people from across party lines, civic organizations, NGOs, and common people.

The discussion basically centred around the proposed amendments via a working paper (developed by Dr. Mahendra P Lama) that need to be implemented and contained on various suggestions regarding the amendment of the treaty which could clearly demarcate the difference between Indian Gorkhas and Nepali citizens.

Highlighting the difference between “Citizenship and Identity” Dr. Mahendra P Lama said, that citizenship is a technical issue, where as identity is a political issue and hence need to be look at from different lenses. He further said that the formation of Gorkhaland statehood would solve both the technical and political issues facing the Indian Gorkhas altogether.

Speaking on the issue, Dr. H B Chettri said that the issues raised in this seminar were pertinent and finding solutions to the questions posed in the forum was of utmost importance for protecting the future of Gorkhalis in India. He further stressed that all the political and non-political groups needed to come together to address these issues and that everyone needs to do all they can to highlight the Gorkha cause at any and every forum that they have access to.

Dr. Enos Das Pradhan said that the proposed ‘working paper’ was merely a start to answering some of the most pertinent questions facing the Gorkhali community today. He further said that issues such as “identity” that are of national importance need to be addressed in a unified manner, and that all the Gorkhalis across India need to speak with one voice to address these issues.

Over all the seminar was focused on requesting all the political and non-political entities to come together in the struggle for Gorkhaland statehood, and for all Gorkhas across India to speak with one voice when it came to Gorkha issue.

Source: DC
[Pic: Animesh Rai Via: Darjeeling – Darjeeling News]

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