SPCC slams State’s lax on foreigner tag

Wed, Sep 13, 2017

GANGTOK: State Congress president Bharat Basnett today criticised the SDF government for failing to eradicate the ‘foreigner’ tag on around 73,431 Sikkimese citizens, who were granted citizenship by the Nar Bahadur Bhandari government in the early 1990s.
He contended that the citizens being labelled as foreigners is more serious than a recent letter by a retired State government bureaucrat to Central leaders opposing granting of scheduled tribe status to 11 Sikkimese Nepali communities. He added that those calling Nepali as immigrants had also backed the Association of Old Settlers petition the Supreme Court seeking Income Tax exemption while calling the Sikkimese as foreigners enjoying the tax relief.
“The 73,431people had been granted Sikkimese citizenship during 1989-91 but the present government didn’t make its stance clear when the Rajya Sabha committee on petitions sought its view on the allegations following which the tag continues to haunt the people,” said Basnett.
The Congress president maintained that that ST status accorded to Bhutia-Lepcha communities are on the lines of the erstwhile Chogyal’s decree of 1958, which makes it evident that Nepalis were equally Sikkimese citizens.