Aizwal: Deprived of OBC status by Mizoram government and the alleged step-motherly attitude of Mizos, Gorkhas, who are one of the largest minorities in the state, are weighing the NOTA option provided by the Election Commission in the November 25 Assembly elections.
"The Gorkhas in Mizoram deserve OBC status. We have been fighting for it for a long time. We want OBC status for securing central government jobs. We are not interested in OBC status for state government jobs," Mizoram Gorkha Joint Action Committee, chairman, H B Thapa, said here.
"So this year the Gorkhas in the state might use the NOTA option to register their grievances," he said.
There are around 25,000 Gorkhas in the state out of which 9771 are eligible voters. The Gorkhas are present in 23 of the 40 assembly segments in the state.
"All state governments since 1987 have denied us our rights. Now if our community decides to go for the NOTA option then it is only due to their apathy. We thank the Election Commission for this option," said Mahesh Rai, a prominent Gorkha leader.
The Election Commission has given the NOTA option meaning `none of the above`, for voters unhappy with candidates or those who do not want to vote for any political party.
The present Congress government had formed a committee,
which gave its report accepting the demand of the Gorkhas for OBC status for central government jobs. But nothing has moved further since then.
Gorkhas started settling in the late 1880s and had backward community status when Mizoram was a part of Assam.
But when Mizoram became a separate state in 1987, the backward status was taken away and Gorkhas were made a `general category` group, denying them the special privileges that they used to enjoy while applying for jobs in either the Central or the state government.
Thapa claimed that the present state government could not move forward with the recommendations because of the diktat of the influential Mizo Students Union, which had openly opposed granting of OBC status to Gorkhas.
The political parties too did not dare take on the Mizo Student’s Union, as they were very influential among the Mizo youths and students and their support for a political party was a deciding factor, he claimed.
"The issue has been lingering for quite some time. There are certain groups who have raised their opposition against the proposal. The state cabinet will take a decision on it in an appropriate time," Education minister Lalswata said.
The main opposition alliance, MDA led by MNF, too is non-committal to the grant of OBC status to the Gorkhas if it comes to power.
15,000 students to participate in anti-terrorism day event
Mumbai, Nov 19 (PTI) Over 15,000 students from schools and colleges would be administered the anti-terrorism pledge at an event here on November 24, organised to mark the fifth anniversary of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
The event, organised by the All India Anti-Terrorist Front, is called "Zara Yaad Karo Qurbani", AIATF chief M S Bitta said here.
Bollywood celebrities like Akshay Kumar, Abhishek Bachchan, Suniel Shetty would participate and encourage the children, Bitta said.
Ace tennis player Sania Mirza is also expected to attend, he said.
"The celebrities would administer the pledge to the students to renew the fight against terrorism," Bitta said.
The march to the venue would begin from 26/11 martyr Tukaram Omble`s statue in South Mumbai. The late policeman`s family members would also be present.
The former chief of Indian Youth Congress expressed concern over the "deteriorating situation in efforts to tackle terrorism."
"We have not learnt lessons from 26/11 and other terror attacks," he said.
Bitta termed the security arrangements in Gujarat as the best in the country. He asked parties not to politicise terror attacks as "those who were killed were common men".
"We have not yet learnt lessons despite assassinations of L N Mishra, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi," he said.
"I am going to file a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking to fix blame on concerned individuals, including then senior bureaucrats, for the security lapses which led to the assassinations and other terror acts," Bitta said.
He also demanded a white paper on the issue.