Proposal of recruiting non-Gorkhas in Gorkha Regiments draws flak
Darjeeling: Shanta Chettri, TMC MP (Rajya Sabha) has shot letters to Prime Minister Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressing grave concern regarding reports of induction of non-Gorkhas, especially Hill tribes as soldiers in Gorkha regiments from the next recruitment cycle. Similar concerns have also been expressed by Gorkha Ex-Servicemen.
In her letter, the MP wrote: "The proposal to induct non-Gorkhas if accepted will enable local Garwalis, Kumaoni and others to join the Gorkha regiments."
Tracing the rich history of the Gorkha regiments, the letter stated "The British raised the first Gorkha regiment in 1815. A tripartite agreement in 1947 between Nepal, India and the UK allows the Indian Army and the British Army to recruit from Nepal. Subsequently out of 10 Gorkha regiments 6 went to India and 4 were retained by the UK. Later the lndian Army raised the seventh regiment, 11 GR. In their two-century-old history the Gurkha Regiments have had a tradition of only having Gurkha soldiers."
Many army veterans have also expressed concern that the move will adversely affect the fighting spirit of the unit. The Gorkha Regiments had played a crucial role in the 1971 lndo-Pak war and the Kargil war of 1999. "There are around 2 crore Gorkhas in India and why not recruit unemployed Gorkha youths of India to the Gorkha regiments instead of inviting people from Garwal and Kumaon for recruitment into Gorkha regiments and disturb the essence of the battalion?" questioned the letter.
The letter requested that the authorities to reconsider the decision and not deprive the Gorkha youths from serving the nation.
Meanwhile, Ex-Servicemen echoing similar sentiments have written to the Defence Minister stating "The proposal of induction of Non-Gorkha Hill Tribes as soldiers (general duties) into Gorkha Regiments should be postponed immediately for two to three years, to be reviewed thereafter. The Minimum Educational Qualification for the recruitment as a soldier (general duties) for the Gorkha Candidates to be stipulated as Class 10 Pass (with no percentage criteria) with immediate effect, to be reviewed after two to three years."
The above-recommended measures will ensure that the problem of lower intake of Gorkha Youths is automatically solved. It will also ensure that the Elan and lzzat of Gorkha Soldiers are also kept intact. We are confident that the Honorable Raksha Manrtiji will definitely take positive action in this regards" stated Colonel (retired) Keshab Rai in the letter.
Meanwhile, both GJM (Binoy) and TMC have welcomed and thanked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her decision to float a Gorkha Batallion in the West Bengal police with 1000 strong personnel.
"She had earlier assured that she would work for the welfare and identity of the Gorkhas. She has kept her word. On the other hand, BJP leaders claiming that Gorkha dreams are their dreams is all set to break the age-old rule and recruit non-Gorkhas in the Gorkha regiments," stated TMC Spokesperson NB Khawas.