Political parties in Sikkim gathered on Thursday for an all-party meet called by the Joint Action Council to define "Sikkimese" identity. The main objective of the meeting was to address the recent controversy over the use of the term "Sikkimese" and the definition of who qualifies as a "Sikkimese" person.
All major political parties, including the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha party, were in attendance. Hamro Sikkim party representative Nicknor Pradhan called 13th February a "black day" for Sikkimese people and stressed the importance of restoring the Nepali seat in the Sikkim state assembly.
Representatives from the Bharatiya Janta Party, Sikkim Republican Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee, and Citizen Action Party also made their voices heard. The BJP's Arjun Rai and Kamal Adhikari urged the indigenous communities to come together and fight for their rights. The Sikkim Republican Party's KB Rai called for the removal of all instances where Nepalese were tagged as immigrants.
The meeting also discussed the recent Supreme Court judgment on the definition of "Sikkimese." Former Speaker and Senior Politician KT Gyaltshen supported the Joint Action Council from his individual capacity, while K L Thapa from the Aam Aadmi Party raised concerns about the confusion in rural areas over the immigrant tag.
Political Secretary to CM Jacob Khaling highlighted what the government has done so far to address the issue, saying that legally and officially, there is no mention of Sikkimese Nepali immigrants, but only Nepalis as immigrants. However, he assured the attendees that the government is ready to take any necessary steps.
At the end of the meeting, four resolutions were passed unanimously. The first resolution stated that the term "Sikkimese" should not be infringed at any cost, as it is a crucial part of Sikkim's identity. The second resolution called for the creation of a committee of eminent legal and constitutional experts to study all the documents related to Sikkimese identity. The third resolution urged the state government to seek a parliamentary debate on the Representation of People's (Amendment) Act 1980 regarding the seat reservation of Sikkimese Nepali community in the State Assembly of Sikkim based on provisions of Article 371F and 8th May Tripartite Agreement 1973. The fourth and final resolution called for the immediate cancellation of residential certificates.
The all-party meet was a significant step towards defining Sikkimese identity and safeguarding the rights of Sikkimese people. The political parties' unity in passing the four resolutions shows a strong commitment to this goal.
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