Passang Sherpa
Save Sikkimese Soul coordinator Passang Sherpa addressing the media at Gangtok on Wednesday. Image - Northeast Now

Save Sikkimese Soul (SSS) has criticised Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) party and its Lok Sabha MP for supporting the Citizenship Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

The organisation asserted that the support of the ruling party towards the controversial Bill was posing danger to the existence and distinct identity of Sikkim. It added that the open support of the SDF towards the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 has put the political future of Sikkim in danger.

Also read: Assam: Lok Sabha passes Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, SSS coordinator Passang Sherpa stated that the SDF Government and its Lok Sabha MP made terrible political blunder by openly supporting the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

He mentioned that the Citizenship Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha, aims to provide citizenship to religious minorities from countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, who came to India before December 31, 2014.

The Bill, which is applicable to all States and Union Territories of India, provides option to find residence in any State of the country.

“This Bill is a direct threat to Article 371F and the Sikkim Subject Regulation Act 1961. If the Bill is passed by the Parliament and is implemented, Sikkim will have to open its gate for everyone seeking residence in Sikkim,” Sherpa said.

He also asserted that when the political situation has turned volatile in Assam, West Bengal and other northeastern States after the introduction of the said Bill, how Sikkim Government could blindly support the Bill without considering the future impact of the Bill in Sikkim.

Sherpa also said, “The Chief Minister of Sikkim is lamenting that the Central Government is not recognising Sikkim as a stakeholder in the Union of India in his public speeches but openly supporting the ill conceived Bill to wipe out the existence and distinct identity of Sikkim by indulging in appeasing their masters in Delhi when they had opportunity to make their voice heard in the Parliament.”

He added in place of rejecting the Citizenship Bill as violation to the provisions of Article 371 F and old laws, the open support of the SDF party to the Bill has put the political future of Sikkim in danger.

“The recent announcement of SC and OBC certificate to non-COI/SSC holders and yesterday’s support to the Citizenship Bill, 2016 clearly shows the conspiracy of SDF Government to do away with Article 371 F and its provisions,” Sherpa said.

He also asserted that it was a wake-up call for all political parties and organisations to rise above petty issues and collectively oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the larger interest of Sikkim and its people.

The press conference was also addressed by SSS coordinator Raaz Gadaily.

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