12-hour shutdown in Sikkim on Wednesday
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Sikkim which has been leading the protests against the Supreme Court’s description of the Nepali community living in the state as those of “foreign origin” has decided to go ahead with the 12-hour general strike on Wednesday.
The Centre on Monday filed a review petition in the Supreme Court with reference to the order. The Sikkim Assembly is scheduled to meet on Thursday for a special session where the issue would be discussed and a resolution is likely to be taken.
“Although central and state governments have taken certain steps, there is a public demand for the shutdown. We can’t simply withdraw it at this juncture or else, questions would be raised on our integrity,” said Shanta Pradhan, the JAC president.
He clarified that the strike that would commence at 6am was not against the Centre or the state.
“It is also not against any political party or community. The bandh is to drive home the point that the people of Sikkim want this issue to be addressed with promptness,” Pradhan added.
On Wednesday, JAC representatives said, there will be only a shutdown and no protest rallies.
“It is a demonstration of solidarity. We appeal to people to stay indoors and contribute a day for Sikkim,” said a leader of the forum.
He said volunteers would be deployed at multiple locations to manage the bandh. They have been advised not to indulge in any activity that can breach law and order.
Sources said all emergency establishments and essential services, including hospitals and medical stores, would be exempted from the strike.
“Vehicles ferrying tourists to Sikkim have been asked to wait at the interstate border in Rangpo till 6pm, when the strike will end,” said a source.
The bandh has earned the support of the Association of Old Settlers of Sikkim, along with the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha and the Sikkim Democratic Front, which is in Opposition.
In the past seven days, it would be the third strike in the Himalayan state. Last week, the SDF had observed a two-day bandh on the same issue.