JAC blames Shah-Sitharaman for not defending the Sikkimese definition in Lok Sabha
JAC members addressing a press conference

Gangtok: The Joint Action Council (JAC) has questioned Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for not defending the Sikkimese definition in the recent Finance Bill discussion in the Indian Parliament on March 22. 

JAC termed their ‘struggle’ in January-February as ‘futile’, with the Finance Bill already being introduced on February 1, claiming, “The meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah on February 6 in Delhi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 27 here in Sikkim. They had reviewed the memorandum submitted in writing to both leaders. We trusted the central leaders to defend the Sikkimese term as per the old laws under Article 371F. They had claimed that the Parliament had no right in diluting the Sikkimese term under Article 371F. We were honest with our submission but the promise has failed from the centre, injustice has happened.”

JAC President Santa Pradhan further claimed that with the Lok Sabha passing the Bill, “not much difference will be made in the Rajya Sabha, it will soon become an Act approved by the President of India. It will hurt the Sikkimese sentiment, as we wanted Income Tax exemption to be given without expanding the Sikkimese term. We were surprised and shocked, we were certain Sikkimese people would get justice.”

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Indra Subba also questioned

The Joint Action Council questioned the absence of Sikkim Lok Sabha MP Indra Hang Subba from the recent Finance Bill discussion in the Indian Parliament, claiming ‘Sikkim was not defended by our MP, who was busy trekking and not attending the Parliament session.’

JAC spokesperson Duk Nath Nepal criticised the lone Lok Sabha MP from Sikkim stating, “We should not have a Lok Sabha MP election in Sikkim anymore, as Sikkim’s MP doesn’t represent the State in our house of need at the Indian Parliament. Where was our MP when the Finance Bill was passed and the Sikkimese term was expanded to allow Income Tax exemption for old settlers? Now Sikkim Subject is lost and our MP was busy trekking somewhere.JAC doesn’t have representation in the Parliament. Even without discussion in the Lok Sabha, the IT exemption could have been re-amended. Now anyone can be Sikkimese taking reference of family members who were old settlers before or on April 26, 1975.”

Also Read | Sikkim’s size makes democracy a challenge. Here’s why

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