Gangtok: The Joint Action Council (JAC) of Sikkim has expressed happiness and gratitude to the central government, state government and the Supreme Court following the Apex Court’s decision to remove the observations in its judgment, which described Sikkimese-Nepalese persons as “people of foreign origin.”

However, the Council expressed anguish at the expansion, distortion and dismantling of the definition of ‘Sikkimese’ over time thereby causing serious and imminent threat to the survival of Sikkimese as the distinct identity within the Union of India.

While disposing of the review, petition the Honourable Supreme Court has also opined that Article 371F has not been touched concerning the Judgement of 13 January 2023, the Council pointed out.

“The expanded definition of “Sikkimese” in the above judgement is only for the purpose of granting of income tax exemption to the old settlers and it does not extend to other old laws protected under article 371f of the constitution,” the Council said.

To put the controversy at rest once and forever, the Council said, “The Sikkimese people request our representatives to adopt a resolution to the above effect in the Sikkim legislative assembly…in future, no division will be made on community lines for petty gains and that all legislators shall strive to preserve and promote the unity of the Sikkimese Bhutia, Lepcha and Nepali.”

The council also appealed to the leaders to rise above party lines and do everything possible to adopt a unanimous resolution to the effect that “Article 371 F is no-negotiable to save Sikkim and maintain Sikkimese as a distinct identity within the Union of India so that we may hand over Sikkim inherited from our ancestors to our coming generation, so that they may live with pride and honour as Sikkimese,” the Council said.

Also Read | JAC seeks clarity on ‘Sikkimese’ definition after SC’s revised order

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