Will approach National Commission for STs on land transfer bill say Sherpa organisations

Gangtok, 11 Jul:

Representatives of Sherpa community organisations today held a press conference in the capital to oppose the land bill for the community presented by the State Government in the Assembly today.

Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, who is also the Minister-in-charge of Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department, introduced the Sikkim Regulation of Transfer of Land (Second Amendment) Bill, today on the first day of the Assembly Session.

Spokesperson,Denzong Sherpa Association, Passang Sherpa, termed the bill as a “draconian bill for the Sherpas”.

He reiterated the demand that the Sherpa community should get their land rights within the purview of Revenue Order No 01 of Article 371F and said that it is due to “the feudal residue” that Sherpas have been deprived of their rights.

Further, he added that the present land bills for various communities in Sikkim of the State Government have no legal and constitutional standing.

When asked about the future action of the various Sherpa organizations, Mr Sherpa held that if the State Government passes the bill in the Assembly, they will cancel the law through various steps.

“National Commission for Scheduled Tribes can take quick decisions in such matters,” he said.

Adding further, he saidthat they will now go to Delhi and approach the National Commission for ST if the present land protection bill for the Sherpas presented by the State Government is passed by the Assembly.

The recent comment by SDF spokesperson, Bhim Dahal, stating that the Sherpa community was included in Bhutia definition in 1978 under ST order and therefore they cannot come under Revenue Order No 1, was criticizedand condemned by Mr Sherpa stating that The Gazetteer of Sikkim clearly mentions that Sherpas have been included in the Bhutia definition and if the Gazetteer is just a historical document then rules based on the data provided in this document should be repealed.

He further mentioned that even the Burman Commission Report passed in 2008 by the Assembly mentions Sherpas as Bhutias.

“On what basis did they pass the report?” he questioned.

He also strongly advocated for SDF legislator, DN Sherpa, to oppose the bill in the Assembly on Thursday “if he is not a servant of the feudals”.

Chief Convenor,Sikkim Sherpa Protection Board, Sonam Gyatso Sherpa, DSA president, La Tshering Sherpa, and DSA general secretary, Dhendup Sherpa, were also present for the press conference.