Ruling SKM says Sikkim must avoid national attention on Article 371F
SKM spokesperson Jacob Khaling

GEYZING: Spokesperson for the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) party Jacob Khaling on Thursday cleared the air on Sikkim government’s silence on the Jantar Mantar protest and the rather sensitive issue of Sikkim’s special status vis-à-vis Article 371F. It is to “avoid national attention and unnecessary flak,” he said.

Justifying the government’s “silence on the issue of Article 371F”, Khaling said, “The government is silent on Article 371F issue involving the two Bihar residents because giving importance to the issue may attract unwanted attention in the country. If the Sikkim government speaks on the issue, then it would become a national issue and draw unnecessary flak from all the corners.”

According to Khaling, Article 371F has not caught the national media’s attention so far. “But if our own people keep publicizing the issue then there is no doubt that the same will soon become a national debate. It is only SKM and its leader PS Golay who can safeguard 371F.”

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The political secretary to the Chief Minister asserted that the SKM government is committed to protect the special provision given to Sikkim. He blamed the “growing dharna culture” in Sikkim that likely provoked the two Bihar residents to speak against Article 371F.

“It is because of dharna culture being promoted by some Sikkimese that people from outside the state are also being provoked to speak against the special provision given to Sikkim. The dharna culture in Sikkim is worrisome and if peace and tranquillity of Sikkim gets disrupted then those involved in such activities should be held accountable,” Khaling said.

Without naming Bhaichung Bhutia, Khaling went on to slam the Hamro Sikkim Party leader for staging a dharna at Gangtok DAC on Thursday. “A person from Sikkim who shifted his voter card to another state clearly meant that he discarded the 371F. How can such person keep advocating for safety of 371F? A person who fought election in (West) Bengal twice is now pretending to fight for the Sikkimese cause. He cannot protect 371F. A person who shifted his voter list to another state for his political agenda should not advocate for the Sikkimese cause or the safety of 371F,” Khaling said.

The erstwhile Kingdom of Sikkim became a full-fledged State of the Indian Union with effect from 26 April, 1975 vide the Constitution 36th Amendment Act 1975, with special provision laid for the State under article 371F of the Constitution of India in order to preserve, protect and safeguard the identity, interests and rights of the people of Sikkim.

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