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Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Support’ for special Sikkim status

Gangtok, Nov. 19: The Sikkim National People’s party today claimed to have received support from “outside” for the demand of “associate state” status for Sikkim.

“We are getting help from outside to make our demand an international one,” Biraj Adhikari, the president of the party, said at a press meet here today. But he did not disclose who these “outside” forces were.

Adhikari, however, added that there was an international organisation that specialised in taking up issues related to agreements and he would reveal its name at “an opportune time”.

The party was formed in September this year with a single point agenda of getting associate state status for Sikkim, which the party claimed, the Union government had promised the erstwhile Himalayan kingdom when it became the 22nd state of the India in 1975.

Adhikari said the party would contest in the Assembly polls scheduled next year and raise this matter in the campaign.

“We will contest the polls and if we win, the party will pass a resolution in the Assembly, stating that we demand the special status back, otherwise, Sikkim should be returned with its protectorate state status which existed before the 35th amendment,” said Adhikari.

The party’s agenda stems from its assertion that the Union government had “betrayed” the people of Sikkim by making it a full fledged state of India, instead of an “associate state”, as promised while “annexing” the erstwhile kingdom in 1975.

Presenting constitutional records and historical books, Adhikari said the India had enacted the 35th Amendment to the Constitution in 1974 by inserting Article 2A and the 10th Schedule. This had been preceded by a special referendum where the Sikkimese people had voted to be a part of India, abolishing the monarchy.

The 35th amendment states that Sikkim would not be a part of the territory of India but an associate state and this remained for eight to nine months, Adhikari claimed. But within a year, the constitution was amended once again, doing away with the provisions of the 35th amendment and inserted article 371 F for special protection of Sikkim, he added.

According to the 36th amendment of 1975, Sikkim became a full fledged state and both the article 2A and the 10th schedule of the 35th amendment were omitted.

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