THE HIMALAYAN BEACON (THB)
VIDEO BY PRAVIN THAMI
TEXT BY BARUN ROY
DARJEELING, 16 NOVEMBER 2017: The controversy over the Residential Certificate has refused to subside. The Himalayan Beacon had published exclusive report ‘Gorkhas singled out to prove their nationality for residential certificate‘, in the follow-up to the same, Binay Tamang, Chairman, Board of Administrators (BOA), Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) had spoken to the Chief Minister and the Principal Secretary. (THB IMPACT: Residential Certificate norms to be changed; Gorkhas not to be singled out). Tamang had told THB, that the Chief Minister had informed him that he had issued orders bidding the local administration to to follow the old norms for issuing residential certificates and not to make new norms without discussing with the State Government. However, as it was believed that the matter had been laid to rest, The Himalayan Beacon has not come to learn that the District Administration is asking applicants to submit application for the Residential Certificate in their caste or race based language. For instance, a Newar had to apply in Newari, a Limbu in Yakthungpan, a Yakkha in Yakkha language. This has lead to complication given the fact that a handful of Newars are fluent in Newari let alone the art of writing a good letter in authentic Newari. Same is the case with people of other racial or caste. A Damai for instance was asked to apply in Damai language.
A political analyst based in Darjeeling said that while this was welcomed act in that people will be forced to learn their native language. But in practicality, it is nothing short of a Tughlaqi farman because how many officials at the District Administration know local languages fluently so that they could process these applications even if the local Associations come out to help the applicants to fill the form in their native tongues. Will the officials be able to read. Further, will the government follow this move by taking appropriate steps to impart learning in these native tongues so that the local students be able to pursue Newari for instance as a Language paper instead of Nepali or English as a first or second paper. At present the move only seems to be stirring unwarranted controversy and confusing people and lower level officials. Something that is not required at these volatile circumstances.