JAC calls Sikkim Bandh on Feb 8, SKM extends support

Monday, Feb 06, 2023 07:45 [IST]

Last Update: Monday, Feb 06, 2023 02:14 [IST]

JAC calls Sikkim Bandh on Feb 8, SKM extends support


GANGTOK,: The Joint Action Council (JAC) has called a Sikkim bandh on February 8 to register a strong condemnation on the ‘immigrant’ tag on Sikkimese Nepali and dilution of ‘Sikkimese’ definition in the January 13 Supreme Court’s observations.

Through the proposed dawn to dusk Sikkim bandh, the JAC is also demanding that the ‘foreigner’ references in the court’s observations are expunged and the ‘Sikkimese’ definition is restored.

Addressing the media on Sunday evening, the JAC functionaries clarified that February 8 is a bandh announcement and not a call to hold rallies on that day.

“There is confusion among many as seen in social media. The JAC wants to make it clear…February 8 is a bandh call and not a rally. Sikkim will be shut down on February 8. We appeal people to stay indoors and give their one day for Sikkim. Only emergency services would be permitted to run,” said JAC general secretary Keshav Sapkota.

JAC women cell head Kala Rai, on her part, condemned the assault on a JAC member at Melli that happened during the JAC rally on Sunday.

“The Melli incident was unfortunate. We strongly condemn the assault and demand strict action against the miscreants from the police. JAC members are fighting for protecting our land and those assaulting the JAC members are anti-Sikkimese. We urge police to investigate and punish the culprits. We will follow it up,” said Rai.

An FIR has been registered at Melli police station.

At the press meet, the JAC functionaries maintained that people attending the JAC rallies should not come with any political agenda. “Please come to join our rallies but do not come with any wear or appendage that symbolizes your political affiliation. Come as a Sikkimese…that is our appeal. This is not a JAC issue but an issue of Sikkim,” they said.

Asked if the Melli incident may be repeated in other JAC rallies, the JAC functionaries asserted that it is the responsibility of police and administration to maintain law and order. We are doing peaceful rallies and do not support violence, we hope that we can freely exercise our democratic rights and security is ensured by the government agencies, they said.

Meanwhile, the ruling SKM has extended its full support to the JAC-called Sikkim bandh.

The SKM does not carry any ego when it comes to protecting the identity and rights of the Sikkimese and will always walk along with the people of Sikkim, said SKM spokesperson Jacob Khaling in a press statement announcing the full support of SKM for the February 8 rally.

I appeal all the party workers and people of Sikkim to extend total support to the JAC-called bandh and make it successful, said the SKM spokesperson. He also appealed the police administration and the bandh organisers to take strong action against those politically motivated elements if they try to create unrest in Sikkim in the bandh pretext.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi