Remove CAA to bring ILP in Sikkim: Chamling
Former Sikkim CM Pawan Kumar Chamling

Gangtok: Former Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling has demanded the removal of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to make room for the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Sikkim.

In his supplementary question during the budget session of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly on Friday, Chamling stressed the need for the removal of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Sikkim for the implementation of ILP in the state.

Chamling contended that the Centre had held a meeting in New Delhi in December 2019 giving an option to the northeastern states to implement the CAA or have ILP by passing an Assembly resolution.

“No one from Sikkim attended the meeting but Manipur took prompt action and they have ILP now. But in Sikkim, the CAA has been implemented which must be removed first through an Assembly resolution and then the govt should approach the Centre for ILP in Sikkim,” said Chamling.

Countering Chamling’s perspective on CAA and ILP, Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay said, “The ILP committee has completed the consultation exercise with the stakeholders and the report of the committee is in the final stage of completion. Once the ILP committee submits the report, the state government will examine the report and initiate appropriate action.”

The Chief Minister pointed out to Chamling that the SDF government could have implemented ILP at any point in time during its 25 years of rule from 1994 to 2019. “Why they did not bring ILP in 25 years? The then Lok Sabha MP from Sikkim of the SDF government had supported the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Parliament. However, our MP Indra Hang Subba opposed and voted against it in the Lok Sabha,” he said.

In the afternoon discussions, Chamling also countered that there was no need for ILP in Sikkim during the SDF government’s tenure. “Today ILP is needed because the CAA has come. I again request that if we want ILP, we must remove CAA. Let’s pass a resolution and head to Delhi seeking ILP,” said the opposition leader.

Golay added that the Union Home minister has stated that the CAA will come to Sikkim only when the Sikkim Legislative Assembly passes a resolution for it, and Sikkim need not worry as the state is protected under Article 371F.

Golay said that the SKM government does not want to act hastily in the ILP demand and has therefore formed a committee to study the pros and cons and visit other northeastern states to understand the best model to follow. Tourism is the backbone of our economy and we do not want our tourism sector to face losses, he said.

Headed by retired secretary Santa Pradhan, the nine-member ILP committee had been constituted by the state government on February 4 this year to oversee the implementation of ILP in Sikkim.

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The committee came in the backdrop of widespread outrage among the people here after the Sikkimese Nepali community were referred to as ‘foreigners’ in the Supreme Court’s judgement of January 13.

The committee was to visit other northeastern states regarding the ILP system and submit its report to the state government within a month. Later, the committee was provided with two extensions of one month each by the state government.

Also Read | Chamling opposes privatization of Sikkim Organic University

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