Hamro Sikkim leader Bhaichung Bhutia meets home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on Saturday. Credit: EastMojo picture

New Delhi: Hamro Sikkim leader Bhaichung Bhutia met home minister Amit Shah here on Saturday and discussed several issues of interest to the state including proper implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) and the fact that introduction of Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 in Sikkim would reduce the Bhutia Lepcha, Sherpa and other such communities to below 5%.

“During merger with India in 1975 the population ratio of BL community (Bhutia Lepcha, Sherpa and others) was 45% and if CAA is implemented in Sikkim, the BL community could go down to 5% or below. This is serious. These communities face a real danger of losing their identity, culture and language. The minister gave ample time to hear all our Sikkim issues including the CAA,” Bhutia informed EastMojo.

He also brought to the notice of the minister that it is not mentioned in writing that Sikkim is exempted from CAA.

Bhutia requested the home minister to implement Certificates of Identification in Sikkim instead of NRC to protect all the Sikkimese origin people including the Lepcha,Bhutias, Nepali and old business community.

Bhutia also requested Shah that Pakyong airport be re-named after Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal who holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Sikkim as he is the person who ensured that Sikkim enjoyed special status and privileges under Article 371 F.

Shah assured Bhutia that he would look into all the demands and issues raised.

A committee would now be set up to suggest the safeguards necessary to protect the interests of the people of Sikkim.

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