A Tale of two stories: Finding Suraj Subba and losing Tirtha Tamang from Sikkim

Writes: Dinesh Sharma

SURAJ SUBBA, FOUND on 28-03-2016 (Delhi):
Rajen Chhetry, Delhi Police for North East representative and a Gorkha Youth activist received a phone call from another DPNE representative from Manipur, Timothy Chongthu. Timothy informed Rajen about a youth from Sikkim found sleeping in a Park at Munirka, South of Delhi.

Rajen Chhetry and Sandeep Pandey immediately swung into action and headed to Munirka to meet the boy. 23 years old Suraj Subba said he is from Manipal, Sikkim and had come down to Delhi a couple of weeks ago looking for his Lover and a ‘happy life after’. However, the story did not work out as he had idealized, and he found himself out on the streets a few days after landing in the city.
He has been sleeping in the park for three days and did not have any money to buy food or to go home. Whatever little he had in his bag, cloths and money was robbed at the ghettos near the railway station. Delhi Police Sub Inspector Ranveer from Vasant Kunj Police station had met Suraj the previous day in the park. After inquiry, the police officer had given him Rs. 600 to buy his tickets and go home. However, when the boy was seen in the same park the next day, the police inspector informed Timothy who then reached out to Rajen Chhetry.

Rajen Chhetry with Suraj Subba
Rajen Chhetry with Suraj Subba

Rajen approached a nearby ‘Namastey Café’ run by a good hearted Gorkha, Puran Rai from Darjeeling. Upon hearing the story, he offered to provide food and shelter for Suraj for the interim few days. Meanwhile, Rajen contacted Sikkim House using the number given in Delhi Police brochures for emergency state help. After narrating the entire story to one Mr. Ganesh over the phone, he requested accommodation for Suraj and arrangements for him to go back to Sikkim. Ganesh told us that such matters are handled by the Resident Commissioner and he provided us his direct number. Unfortunately, all our calls went unanswered.

Having no other option, we asked Suraj if we can put up his information on our Facebook page and try getting some help. We then reached out to different people and online media, Voice of Sikkim, The Darjeeling Chronicles, Indian Gorkhas, and other media outlets. We received massive support on the information posted on GYASA and the associated online media channels page, with people caming back with information about his village and parents.

Earlier that day, GYASA members collected had some money within themselves and handed it to Suraj. Namastey Café owner Puran Rai volunteered to accommodate Suraj till he is settled. Mr. Arun Dubey, working as a Sales Director for a UK based-firm offered to book the tickets and travel expenses for Suraj Subba. Christina and Caleb from Sikkim also called in to offer their help with tracing the family of Suraj in Sikkim.

Then, the next challenge was to get the identification papers for Suraj. Arun Dubey and Rajen Chhetry also helped in arranging identity papers for the journey. Puran Rai, the café owner safely dropped him to the auto-stand. Rajen Chhetry received a call from Suraj after he reached safely back home and reunited with his family on 1st April 2016.

TIRTHA TAMANG, LOST on 3rd April 2016:
A newly recruited Delhi Police personal from Sikkim, Tirtha Tamang committed suicide at Police Training School, Kharoda Kalan, Delhi. Reportedly Tirtha Tamang was going through depression for some time. With the aim to facilitate integration of North East people in the city, Delhi Police had recently recruited more than 600 police personal from across all North Eastern states. The new recruits had reached Delhi for their training just two days earlier.

As the news of the death reached Robin Hibu IPS, Jt. CP and Nodal Officer for North East folks he tried reaching out to Sikkim House for help. Reportedly, the person at the reception desk informed IGP Robin Hibu IPS that ‘it is a holiday today and he cannot help’. On requesting if he could inform his official, he asked Robin Hibu IPS to do that himself. Finally, Robin Hibu IPS did manage to reach the Resident Commissioner and got someone from Sikkim House to rush to the venue.

The Undercurrent:
If you have observed a striking similarity in these two stories, it is the callousness of the Sikkim House reception desk who is not efficient for emergency response. Both times, the person manning the emergency helpline has reacted badly during emergencies. If the phone number is not meant for such emergency, then Sikkim House should not have published it officially on Delhi Police emergency helpline numbers.

In a city like Delhi, people don’t have time to spend days and night trying to help each other. The state and government machineries in Delhi should be more proactive in helping their citizens. How does it reflect on the state or the region to find its people homeless and begging for food in cities? How difficult is it for the person manning the reception desk to differentiate between a SOS call and a leisure enquiry?

As Delhi Police representatives, we all try to help best in our personal capacity. Under Delhi Police for North East People, the police force is also involving community leaders and social activist to assist the government in handling such issues. However, all these good work by the Delhi Police stops when the state houses keep their doors shut and mouth mum during such emergency. When citizens are willing to help voluntarily, what does it take for the State Houses to involve them and hear them out? The saddest day would be when such good Samaritans get fed up of the Babu culture and the Great Walls of the State Houses.


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