The Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) has condemned the dilution of Article 371F in the Union Finance Bill 2023 passed recently by the Lok Sabha “without any discussion”.
“The expansion of the Sikkimese definition in the Finance Bill has diluted the essence of Article 371F, which is a protective shield for the people of Sikkim. The double-engine government of SKM and BJP at the State and Centre are responsible for this dilution,” said HSP spokesperson Biraj Adhikari in a press statement on Thursday.
The HSP maintained that Article 371F has been incorporated into the Constitution of India to protect the social, cultural and economic rights of the people of Sikkim.
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“It was a solemn commitment made by the Government of India to the people of Sikkim at the time of the merger of Sikkim with India. However, the recent amendments in the Finance Bill have violated this commitment and have undermined the very spirit of Article 371F,” said Adhikari.
“The expansion of the Sikkimese definition in the Finance Bill especially in clause (v) has paved the way for many scams to get tax exemptions by people who are not even in Sikkim. This move is a blatant disregard for the constitutional safeguards that protect the unique identity and interests of the people of Sikkim,” said the HSP spokesperson.
“We call upon all the BJP MLAs of Sikkim to resign from the BJP and join the opposition to seek justice for the Sikkimese and protect Article 371F. The people of Sikkim have always trusted regional parties, and we firmly believe that national parties like BJP should be kept away from Sikkim for the welfare of the State,” demanded the HSP spokesperson.
“HSP calls upon the people of Sikkim to stand united and fight against this attack on the State's autonomy and unique identity. HSP believes that the people of Sikkim deserve a government that prioritizes their welfare and protects their interests. We remain committed to fighting for the people of Sikkim and ensuring that the rights of every Sikkimese are always protected,” said Adhikari in his press statement.
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