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regular-article-logo Friday, 23 February 2024

Sikkim chief minister P.S. Tamang airs ST status demands before Amit Shah

While hearing a PIL pertaining to the reservation of seats for Limbu and Tamang communities in the Sikkim and the Bengal Assemblies last month, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to reconstitute the delimitation commission and consider the demand

Avijit Sinha Siliguri Published 07.12.23, 11:19 AM
PS Tamang with Amit Shah in New Delhi on Wednesday.

PS Tamang with Amit Shah in New Delhi on Wednesday. Picture courtesy: Sikkim Government

A Sikkim delegation led by chief minister P.S. Tamang (Golay) met two Union ministers in New Delhi on Wednesday and raised the longstanding demands of Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for 12 communities and reservation of seats in the Assembly for Limbu and Tamang communities.

“The delegation led by the chief minister met Union home minister Amit Shah and Union tribal affairs minister Arjun Munda. The chief minister underscored the significance of the outlined demands and emphasised their importance for Sikkim. He also submitted a memorandum to the home minister on behalf of the state government,” said a source in the Sikkim government.

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In Sikkim and the Darjeeling hills of Bengal, there is a longstanding demand to confer the ST status on some communities.

“The Assembly elections will be held in Sikkim next year. The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) headed by Tamang which is in power now understands the importance of both the demands well. Other parties will flag the demands ahead of the elections. That is why the chief minister has taken up the demands with the Centre,” said a political veteran in Sikkim.

The Sikkim Assembly has 32 seats. In 2019, the SKM bagged 17 seats, while the Sikkim Democratic Front, headed by former chief minister Pawan Chamling, won from 15 constituencies.

While hearing a PIL pertaining to the reservation of seats for Limbu and Tamang communities in the Sikkim and the Bengal Assemblies last month, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to reconstitute the delimitation commission and consider the demand.

An NGO, which filed the PIL, said in its plea that the population of Limbus and Tamangs in Sikkim was 20.6 per cent in 2001 and increased to 33.8 per cent in 2011.

In Darjeeling district of Bengal, the ST population was 12.69 per cent in 2001 and 21.5 per cent in 2021, said the NGO.

The Assembly Speaker, Sikkim MP Indra Hang Subba, three state ministers and the chief secretary were also in the delegation.

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