Namchi, 06 Jul:
Condemning the State Government’s Regulation of Transfer of Land [Second Amendment] Bill 2018 passed by the Cabinet on 05 Jul, Denzong Sherpa Association [DSA] has demanded that land rights of Sherpas be included in Revenue Order No. 1.
The DSA placed this demand today during its State level coordination cum awareness meeting held at Perbing in South Sikkim. The meeting was attended by DSA chief patron, Sangay Sherpa, president, Lha Tshring Sherpa, spokesperson, Passang Gelley Sherpa, and members of Sherpa community from different parts of the State.
Addressing the function, DSA spokesperson, Passang Gelley Sherpa, asserted that the Sherpa community will not accept the new Land Regulation Transfer Bill placed by the State Government as it does not come under Revenue Order No. 1. The association further alleged that the State Government is trying to sideline their demand for protection of their lands.
“As per the State Government gazettes, the first census in Sikkim had been conducted in 1891 and the Sherpa community had been listed in Bhutia [sub caste] community of Sikkim. Similar listing had been done in 1911 census of Sikkim. Considering the history of Sherpa community in Sikkim added with documentary facts of Scheduled Tribes Order 1978 and the Representation of People’s [Amendment] Act 1980, the Union of India had placed the Sherpa community within the constellation of Bhutia-Lepcha. However, it was the fault of selfish politicians who did not make any stand for our community’s land protection in the State by not bringing it under Revenue Order No. 1,” Mr Sherpa added.
He further said that the State Government had no right to decide the future of Sherpas without proper knowledge of history and facts.
“If the State Government tries to impose such law and continue hurting our sentiments then we, the Sherpas, will decide the social, economical and political future on our own,” he stated.
He also informed that DAS had approached Union Minister of Tribal Affairs seeking protection of land rights under Revenue Order No. 1 and separate census of Sherpa community in the State following which the Ministry had directed the State Government to send a report on the same.
“Although the State Government did not send any report to the Ministry, we never complained against anyone and after a decade of suppression and injustice done, we have realized our rights. We will no longer remain suppressed. We will fight for our rights for our better future of our community,” added Mr Sherpa.
President of DSA, Lha Tshring Sherpa, in his address said, “Political parties may accuse us of having a political agenda against the government but this is not political propaganda. We are fighting for our rights. If the State Government cannot safeguard our rights and cannot make a strong stand for our community, we will fight our own battle. We will not accept any bill that can destroy our future. We had been very clear about our rights and the government is aware of it but has not taken any initiative to work for our community.”
He appealed to all the Sherpas to be united and have a clear understanding of the situation for the future of the Sherpa community of Sikkim.
Condemning the Regulation of Transfer of Land [Second Amendment] Bill, DSA chief patron, Sangay Sherpa, accused the State Government of taking advantage of the Sherpa community of the State by not listing the Sherpa community under Revenue Order No. 1.
The association further informed that DAS will be organizing its annual general meeting soon in Gangtok and urged the Sherpa community of Sikkim to participate in the meet.
After the annual general meet, the DSA will approach the Union Minister for Tribal Affairs and other Ministries, it is informed.