The senior children of Tong-Len write up
In course of recent events, we the children of tong Len were faced with a very personal dilemma. The government of Himachal Pradesh, particularly the municipal corporation gave orders to the slum community in Charan Khad to vacate the place without any alternate place to go. They were told to leave without anything further told to them.
This problem concerns us personally because we belong from the Charan Khad community. It is a slum community inhabited by people from Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Punjab and so on. The slum is in very poor conditions and even not having basic facilities such as toilet. If we are to vacate that place too we will have no place to go and our means of livelihood would be severely affected.
On the wake of such desperate times, we the students of Tong Len decided to intervene and do something about it. Though now we are living in the hostel and our in better conditions but we still owe a moral responsibility and duty towards our families back in Charan Khad. So around 10- 12 senior students from the hostel decided to take steps to help the community, our community. We held various meetings and discussions, involving the staff and guru ji, surfing the net too about fundamental rights, the constitution, various ministries and so on.
We then decided to collect this data and add to it the opinions and needs of the people of community, as our aim was to prioritize the needs and interests of the community. We went to visit the slum area and had a word with almost of the families, who we had requested to gather at Tong Len Tent school or Tution Tent. We had quite a revealing discussion and learnt that people from local authorities had come up to the slum a few days back and had marked few areas to be put under construction as soon as possible. This was turning out much more serious than we had expected. The members of the community were clueless and they had no hopes for their future. This gave us another incentive to work harder for our common cause.
As now the matter involved government authority, we thought of involving other experts too. We had quite a few discussions with Guru ji . He suggested we do it legally and for this we decided to hire a lawyer. Mr Adarsh Vashist was kind enough to help us to take up this matter legally. He gave us a few pointers as to what we need to address particularly and what we can ask the court for. What would be the suitable method for this? Getting his guidance gave us a head start into things.
Mr. Vashist also visited twice from shimla to Tong Len hostel at Dharamsala and spend some time with the children of the hostel, we had enlightening and serious discussions. On the 15th we decided to write a letter to the deputy commissioner of Himachal, minister of urban development; Himachal, commissioner of municipal corporation. Along with the governor of Himachal, honourable Prime minister of India.
16th April, 2016 we along with Mr Vashist decided to visit the above mentioned dignitaries in Himachal and express our concerns along with the letters. We were accompanied by a few members from the Charan community as well. Though we could not find these ministers in their respective offices as they were attending a function in the Himachal Tourism Department, community hall, Dharamshala. We all then went to visit them there; it was advantageous for us as we could meet all of them together at one place!
The children, community members along with Mr Adarsh Vashist succeded to meet The minister of urban development, to whom we handed over the letter and also briefly spoke to him about our concerns, he told us that he would look into the matter and may provide basic amenities to people so that they can lead a better life. Next we met the deputy commissioner of himachal who was kind enough to accept the letter and also spoke to us about the issues concerning us, he appreciated our efforts and also mentioned that he was quite impressed by the fact that we not only wrote a letter but signed it , there were around 15 signatures and this gave the letter the status of a petition which has a favourable value amongst the government officials. We also handed over the letter to commissioner of municipal corporation and were greeted with favourable assurance.
Later some press reporters too showed interest in our cause and took our pictures with the letters , along with asking us for a few details about our concerns. They may publish a small write-up and pictures in the newspaper. We were not yet quite satisfied so once we left the venue we posted the letters to Prime minister of india and the governor of himachal Pradesh respectfully. We will now visist the local offices of the dignitaries who accepted our letters to follow up with them and see what is happening and what needs to be done.
Reported by Pinki, Karan and Mirdul