Singtam violence: JAC calls for janta curfew in Sikkim

GANGTOK: In protest against the violence that broke out at Singtam during a rally of the Joint Action Council on April 8 where some unidentified miscreants attacked JAC general secretary Keshav Sapkota, the JAC called for a “janata curfew” across Sikkim today.

The group has demanded a resolution for rejecting the Finance Bill 2023 in the Sikkim Assembly special session on April 10 and urged all 32 legislators to come to a consensus.

The council has also requested the people of Sikkim to stay inside their homes.

“We are not asking SKM or BJP legislators, but all 32 MLAs to be sincere about Sikkimese people and their identity by rejecting the Finance Bill 2023,” said JAC Vice President Passang Sherpa at a press conference on Sunday.

“There is no law and order. Sikkim has become completely lawless,” said JAC vice president.

On how the expansion of the ‘Sikkimese’ term can be rejected by Sikkim Assembly, JAC added, “The amendment in Income Tax Exemption Act under section 10 (26AAA) must be removed and all that has been added must be uprooted. IT exemption must be granted as per May 8 Agreement and it can be done in the Sikkim Assembly.”

Duk Nath Nepal, JAC executive, has called for a one-day janta curfew on April 10. He said, “We demand a sit-at-home protest by the Sikkimese people in solidarity with what happened with Keshav Sapkota during a rally at Singtam on Saturday. Let this be a protest for the rights of the Sikkimese people. Do not come out in public. A one-day sit-at-home in protest can be supported through social media. Employees, and students, must understand as to why the finance bill 2023 must be rejected. They may force people to come outside, but if it resorts to violence against the people again, then the Governor will be held responsible.”

JAC further claimed that their appointment with the new Governor Lakshman Acharya to request for a ‘peaceful assembly for a cause” has been denied. The group clarified that ‘peaceful assembly for a cause’ doesn’t need any permission as mic or loudspeaker is not used. We told the Sikkim Police about it, but they acted as though they didn’t know the law of the land. The peaceful assembly didn’t need permission, the group stated

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Speaking on JAC general secretary Keshav Sapkota, a JAC member said, “Keshav Sapkota’s blood should not get wasted. “In the attack on JAC general secretary, the FIR against JAC was lodged before our FIR. They changed the charges from an attempt to murder to grievously hurt, this was done as a bailable offense. Fear of politics and goons has prevented people from coming out. It is a condemnable situation, where we were beaten or tried to kill.”

Also read | Sikkim CM Golay accuses a ‘certain org’ of politicising Article 371F

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