GANGTOK: People in Sikkim gathered at MG Marg on a rainy Sunday morning in support of Former Minister Tseten Tashi Bhutia. The solidarity march organised by the Bhutia Lepcha community of Sikkim was a direct retaliation against the statements made by CM’s Political Secretary Jacob Khaling on August 23.

During his defence against the recent rape accusation by Sikkim Nagrik Samaj led by Tseten Tashi as its chief patron, Khaling on August 23 at a press conference had slammed Bhutia along with Bharat Basnet and Pasang Sherpa, all of whom had accused Khaling of the rape accusation on August 21. Taking a jibe at Tashi, Khaling had remarked, “How will you walk in MG Marg with shame?”

The jibe came back to haunt Khaling as rumours made rounds of Bhutia Lepcha citizens staging a solidarity March on August 29. Khaling issued an apology a day earlier, claiming, “I take back my words on how will Tseten Tashi walk-in MG Marg. I learned that the same has offended a section of people who support Bhutia. Tseten Tashi is a former Minister and currently the Convener of SIBLAC, he has always spoken for the people of Sikkim, for their welfare and their rights, hence I apologise for my statement which was expressed in haste in the press conference as I got carried away. He has every right to walk in MG Marg with pride, as the stretch in town is for everyone”.

However, the apology from Khaling came a bit late, as on the next day supporters of Tseten Tashi assembled in MG Marg to welcome him. Tseten Tashi was accorded a warm welcome as he and his supporters from across the State made a solidarity walk with the Bhutia leader across MG Marg.

Bhutia while speaking to the public, asserted on the lines, “You can fool some people some time, you can fool all people some time, but you can never fool all the people all the time. The assembly of people here today is a recognition of what I am doing. This is an emotional day for me, because of the gathering of people in my support. What the political secretary was personal against me, but the people have taken it as an attack on themselves. They have condemned the same. This is just a start, in 46 years of democracy, Sikkimese residents and Sikkim has reached far. It has not eluded us, we can see the same in today’s generation”.

Bhutia went on to say, “Those in government, not all of them but some who have lost the plot in enthusiasm, the kind of statements coming through, today’s gathering is to condemn the statement. To support their leaders, the supporters have made a mockery of Sikkim Nagrik Samaj with provocative cartoons sharing them across social media. We condemn the same. Those in government are our people, I pray to them to work for the future generations of Sikkimese people framing the right policy such that we can see the results of the same. We have never misguided the government, but they are themselves being misguided.”

Bhutia went on to back his Sikkim Nagrik Samaj of speaking for the people of the State without any political affiliation. He said, “The rally organized is a non-political one, by the people from across Sikkim. Sikkim Subject Holders and those that advocate for Article 371F, we have gathered to form the Sikkim Nagrik Samaj, which is non-political, but a social organisation. The aim of which is to fight for Sikkim and Sikkimese based on Article 371F. Those associated with me in the organisation have always worked for Sikkimese people,” said the Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee Convener.

Bhutia went on to declare that on September 5, on the occasion of teachers day, the organisation is set to release its website and app. He went on to claim, “The organisation exists for Sikkimese people it is not for percentage and commission. We need your support, the motive of Sikkim Nagrik Samaj will not be successful without your support. 46 years of democracy has gone by, so we need to focus on the rights of our future generations. Too much of everything is bad, and that is how the situation is in Sikkim.”

He called for the unity of the Sikkimese people.



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