Social Activist Prem Goyal

Gangtok: Social activist Prem Goyal, a representative of Sikkim’s Old Settlers community, has asked the state government to make Residential Certificates (RCs) equivalent to the Certificate of Identification (COI).

The demand placed by Goyal was part of the protest by ‘Sikheem Suraksha Samiti’ demanding the State Government to safeguard Article 371F, old laws and the internal security of the state.

On Saturday afternoon, as part of the protest at the District Administrative Centre in Sichey near here, speaking on the sixth demand of the 10 placed by Suraksha Samiti at the rally, which stated, “Make ‘Residential Certificate (RC)’ equivalent to Certificate of Identification (COI), with proper verification of documents of the people residing in Sikkim before 26th April 1975″, Goyal said, “We want the government to come out with a concrete solution regarding RC. Either RC be made equivalent to COI or set rigid criteria to avail RC along with the attached benefit, facility. Or do away with the RC system completely. Due to changes at regular intervals, RC holders are panicking.”

Goyal said, “This has been a long pending demand of the old settlers. If the problems of old settlers are solved and RC holders are treated or given equivalent status like a COI, numerous problems would be solved.”

Goyal blamed the democratic governments for treating old settlers like “stepchildren”. He stated, “It is not the old settlers who have increased the influx in the state or has diluted the old laws of the state, it is the governments in power that treats the old settlers as stepchildren.”

Prem Goyal accused the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha government of stopping the issuance of Residential Certificates (RCs) to old settlers residing in Sikkim before April 26, 1975.

He stated, “The current SKM government must go by their election manifesto where they have assured to resolve the problem for ones and all. More than three years have passed since the government in power, instead of solving the issue faced by the old settlers, has stopped issuing RC.”

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