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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Attempts to defame platform: CM Tamang cautions JAC

The Joint Action Council was formed in the wake of the January 13 Supreme Court verdict that had led to a massive public outcry over the labelling of Sikkimese Nepalis as those of “foreign origin”

Rajeev Ravidas Rangpo (Sikkim) Published 04.03.23, 04:48 AM
PS Tamang in Rangpo on Friday.

PS Tamang in Rangpo on Friday. The Telegraph

Chief minister P.S. Tamang (Golay) on Friday cautioned the Joint Action Council (JAC) against allowing some elements within the organisation to politicise the platform.

Speaking at the concluding programme of the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM)’s “Ghar Dailo Abhiyan” here, Golay alleged a few persons were out to defame the apolitical JAC for their own vested interests.

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“If you don’t want to politicise, don’t indulge in politics, instead, open a party... This (JAC) has become more like a political platform,” the SKM president said. JAC was formed in the wake of the January 13 Supreme Court verdict that had led to a massive public outcry over the labelling of Sikkimese Nepalis as those of “foreign origin”.

The Supreme Court deleted its remark in a subsequent order. However, the contention of JAC is the removal of the foreigner slur was only half a battle won because the court had also asked the Centre to amend the definition of the term “Sikkimese” by including Indian-origin old settlers in it to enable them to enjoy the benefit of income tax exemption like the Sikkimese whose names are registered under the Register of Sikkim Subjects.

To keep up the pressure against any attempt to dilute the definition of “Sikkimese”, the organisation has called for observing March 8 as “Sikkimese Unity Festival” to display the solidarity of the Sikkimese Nepalis, Bhutias and Lepchas.

Golay, in his speech, iterated that the inclusion of the old settlers within the definition of “Sikkimese” was only for the purpose of granting them tax exemption, and they would not enjoy any other benefits. Many, however, argue once that happens, it will open up the floodgates for the old settlers who would then demand other rights and privileges enjoyed only by the Sikkimese.

The SKM president also took potshots at the main opposition Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), which has decided to observe its foundation day on Saturday as “Shok Diwas”, to mourn the alleged loss of Sikkimese identity and the dilution of Article 371F of the Constitution, which provides special status to Sikkim.

Golay said his party did not believe in the politics of vengeance and, unlike the SDF, which had called a bandh on SKM’s foundation day on February 4, it would wish the opposition well. “We will not call a bandh, but would, instead, wish the SDF well for its Shok Diwas,” he said, adding with a chuckle, provided the people actually turn for the SDF show.

The SKM programme at the Rangpo Ground was a veritable show of strength of the party with people in their thousands thronging the venue. The programme led to a massive traffic snarl on NH10 extending for kilometres on both sides of Rangpo, which borders Bengal.

With the Sikkim Assembly elections only a little over a year away, Golay launched the government’s “Sikkim Aama Sashaktikaran Yojana” under which 16,000 underprivileged mothers would be given an annual amount of Rs 20,000. “In the future, we will increase the amount up to Rs 1 lakh,” he said, to wild cheers from the crowd.

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