SDF plea to governor on CAA exemption
Former chief minister and Sikkim Democratic Front president Pawan Chamling on Friday urged governor Ganga Prasad to move the Centre to ensure that the state was kept outside the purview of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act owing to the special status enjoyed by it under Article 371F of the Constitution.
An SDF delegation led by Chamling met the governor at Raj Bhavan here and submitted a memorandum. “Your Honour could kindly seek the blessings of the Government of India in the interest of Sikkim to ensure that Sikkim be exempted from the extension and enforcement of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 as per the relevant provisions of law to uphold the very essence of Article 371F,” said the memorandum.
The former chief minister said the amended Act had given rise to a deep sense of fear and insecurity in the minds of the people of Sikkim.
“The people at large are very apprehensive that in case the Act is enforced in Sikkim, the rights and interests of the Sikkimese people would be adversely affected and the very spirit of Article 371F of the Constitution would be diluted,” he said.
The SDF had supported the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill when it was passed in the Lok Sabha for the first time in January, but did a volte-face and opposed it in the Rajya Sabha this time.
The ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha had also voted against the Bill in the Lok Sabha while demanding an exemption for the state.
Union home minister Amit Shah had acknowledged the significance of Article 371F in Sikkim’s context and assured the Lok Sabha that the Act would not be extended to the state without the nod of the Assembly. Local political parties and social organisations, however, contend that mere verbal assurance is not enough and the exemption must find a mention in the Act.
The SDF is among a host of parties and organisations which on Friday came together to form “Sikkim Against CAA” or SACAA.
Passang Sherpa, who was named the coordinator of the forum, said its single point agenda was to oppose the amended Citizenship Act.
The forum demanded the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state. States with ILP regime in place have been empted from the Act.
“The Act is disastrous for Sikkim. Hence, the SACAA seeks the support of the public to take this movement forward,” added Sherpa.
Other constituents of the forum are Sikkim Sangram Parishad, Sikkim unit of the Congress, Sikkim Republican Party, Hamro Sikkim Party, Sikkim Subject Committee, Limboo-Tamang Voluntary Committee, I AM 371F Campaign, Sikkim for Sikkimese, Sikkim Progressive Youth Forum and Unite for Sikkim.