Scence from the incident on Sunday

Gangtok: The Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) workers burnt effigies of CM Prem Singh Tamang in Gangtok on Friday while blaming the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) government for trashing the affidavit filed by the SDF on the “immigrant” tag.

Holding his government responsible for the Supreme Court’s ‘foreigner’ tag
on the Sikkimese Nepali people, the SDF has also called for a shutdown
on February 4 and 5, 2023.

The Bandh collides with the 11th party foundation day of ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) on February 4.

Proposing the bandh should be “peaceful and non-violent”, former Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling termed those opposing the bandh as anti-Sikkimese Nepali. Targeting the SKM foundation day on February 4, Chamling said, “People should boycott the SKM foundation day. The SKM is doing celebrations after making the Sikkimese Nepali community refugees. The stain on the Sikkimese Nepali community and dilution of Sikkimese status has happened during the SKM government. The SKM government failed to object in the court when the Sikkimese Nepalis were being made Stateless,” he said.

SDF party workers including former minister Tshering Wangdi Lepcha were seen burning the effigy of Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay at the DAC premises with calls for ‘Golay Murdabad’.

Read | ‘Immigrant’ row: Now, Sikkim health minister MK Sharma resigns

The Sikkim Democratic Front has also called for the CM’s resignation over the ‘foreigner’ issue

He stated that had CM Golay paid attention to the affidavit that the SDF government submitted, this issue would not have arisen. “The Sikkim government and CM knew about the verdict but chose to neglect it and now, he is running for cover and fumbling for excuses. Now half a month is lost since the verdict,” he said.

Lamenting that “the CM is buying time”, Subba said the Golay-led government has timed the review petition conveniently to evade dealing with the affidavit filed by the SDF.

On the basis of Article 137 of the Indian Constitution for review petitions, Subba said, “It is a difficult situation once a review is given. We have very less chance. If he (CM Golay) has the capacity to review, why was the review not considered before the judgement came out?” He also added that the people of Sikkim are in a limbo of uncertainty and emotional turbulence because of the CM’s decision.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang has said that his government has already filed a review petition in the apex court for its “foreigners” tag verdict rectification.

The additional advocate general and law secretary of the state are handling the matter at the national capital along with legal experts, Tamang said.

Demanding resignation from CM Golay on moral grounds, the SDF spokesperson said the CM himself is a Sikkim Subject or Certificate of Identification holder. “They should have addressed the immigrant issue by now but they themselves are agitated,” the spokesperson said.

Read | SC verdict has struck down word ‘Sikkimese’ as well: CAP

“Not every individual from Sikkim can deliver speeches nor can all of them place their opinions. Due to this, as a collective way of expressing our protest, calling
for a bandh is the appropriate way in a democracy. So we are democratically protesting against the Supreme Court verdict that stained the people of Sikkim by mentioning us as foreigners, which is not right. So, we have called upon the people of Sikkim to observe the shutdown,” Chamling said.

Supreme Court’s observations that the Sikkimese Nepali community was an immigrant one while allowing income tax exemption to all old settlers cutting across ethnic lines has riled the state politics, causing massive disaffection in all sections of the civil society.

So far, two people have resigned over the issue — the Sikkim Additional Advocate General and state cabinet minister for Health and Family Welfare Department MK Sharma

Also Read | Review petition filed in SC for rectification of observation on Sikkimese Nepalis: CM Tamang

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