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Letter to CM from Uttarakhand Patrakar Parishad

General Release from the Uttarakhand Patrakar Parishad

August 11, 2004

To The Chief Minister
Uttarakhand Government
Interim capital Dehradun

Subject: Tragic martyrdom of Baba Mohan Uttarakhandi and our just demands.


With deepest of the shock and grief we, on behalf of the Uttarakhand Patrakar Parishad (UKKP), regret the martyrdom of illustrious activist Baba Mohan Uttarakhandi.

In this regard, we bring it to your kind notice and to the notice of the insensitive government machinery presided over by none other than a person of eminence, with wide administrative experience in Uttar Pradesh and at the Centre. We want to bring the following points to the notice of a person who never liked formation of the Uttarakhand state and even went to the extent of saying that the new state would be created on ‘my dead body’.

We have the tragedy of tolerating such people and parties which always created/put hurdles in the way of formation of the new state sporting a very strange name “Uttaranchal”. The travails and traumatic journey of the common man continues not only in the far flung villages of Uttarkashi, Tehri, Chamoli, Bageshwar, Champawat and Pithragarh but also in the “mainstream” villages of Garhwal, Almora, Dehradun, Nainital, Rudraprayag districts. The PAHAR sponsored Askot-Arakot Yatra-2004 has also brought this fact to the fore. While the common people continue to face innumerable difficulties in their day-to-day life, the bureaucrats remain insensitive and more concerned about looking after their vested interests particularly around the interim capital, Mussoorie and Nainital. Could you say with some confidence that the bureaucracy and the babus at the lower levels have changed a bit? We even do not expect a reply from your office. Our previous letters were thrown into the bins. This letter, we believe, has the same fate.

Here we are not drawing you into the debate of good governance nor we wish to tarnish your image but as citizens of Uttarakhand and being members of the Fourth Estate, we have some points to bring to your notice. This is just for the sake of record as we do not expect a reply from an insensitive administration influenced by the mafia operating from Delhi and elsewhere.

We try to keep track of the government headed by you and are pained most of the times to learn about the ludicrous decisions being taken that are far from the expectations of the people. The draft of the water policy and the forest policy are such a few examples.

We do not say that your resignation will bring metamorphic change. We just want to say that still there is some time left to think twice about the accomplishments and achievements that you think you have achieved.

We are organising a meet of several organisations in Delhi to discuss the recent death of the activist Baba Mohan Uttarakhandi due to fast-unto-death and Gambhir Singh Kathait, who had self-immolated himself for a social cause in Tehri a few months back.

A decision will be taken to protest against your government if the demands of Baba Mohan Uttarakhandi and all of us are not met immediately.

For the time being, we have the following points to make:

  1. Why at least two activists (Baba Uttarakhandi and Kathait) were allowed to die after formation of the new state? Why the government machinery could not activate itself to save lives of the martyrs in Tehri and Benital? Did not they have the right to live in peace?
  2. Was not your statement that Baba Mohan Uttarakhand died of cardiac arrest uncalled for and unwarranted? Was not it an attempt to undermine his gracious martyrdom?
  3. Why did not you rush to the spot of tragedy? Why you also did not visit Tehri when young Kathait self-immolated for a larger cause?
  4. We want to know how many times you have visited places or peoples in the hills during your tenure as Chief Minister?

    In the light of the above we want action on the following issues:

    1. The name of the state must be changed to Uttarakhand. It was one of the tall promises in your party’s election manifesto in 2002. The Centre has to be pressurised to bring an amendment to the Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Act at the earliest to effect the necessary change in name of the state.
    2. The state assembly must take a decision to declare Gairsain area as permanent capital of the Uttarakhand state. Any delay will cause more deaths and for such tragic incidents, your government will be solely responsible. All constructions in Dehradun and other places be stopped immediately so that there is no confusion about the government’s stand on the issue of permanent capital. The one-man commission to look into the permanent capital issue is considered as an eyewash by most of the people. In light of this, the state government should ignore the report of the commission, whatever in nature and content, and initiate appropriate steps.
    3. Provisions of the Article-371 of the Indian Constitution be implemented strictly in the new state to protect the hill peoples, their cultures, languages, traditions, etc. As we understand, this Act is already in place in several states of the country and there is no social tension on this issue.
    4. The Uttarakhand people have right to protect their forests, rivers and other natural resources the way they want to.
    5. All Acts passed by the state assembly must have the voice of the people at large. No Act should be enacted without taking into confidence the people and their representatives.
    6. Baba Mohan Uttarakhand and Gambhir Singh Kathait be declared as martyrs. Their families have to be compensated adequately — financially, emotionally and socially.
    7. Ban of taking out torch demonstrations (mashal juloos) be withdrawn. The government has banned this democratic expression after self-immolation by an activist. Would the use of LPG also banned if some activist decides to self-immolate in his own kitchen? Taking out a torch demonstration is a democratic right of the citizens.
    8. Action must be taken to implement the above demands so that such tragic things do not get repeated.

      With due regards,
      Gyanendra Pandey, President UKD PP
      Suresh Nautiyal, General Secretary, UKKP