Maintain BL seats ratio, restore Nepali seats: NASBO

Gangtok, 16 Aug:

A general body meeting of National Sikkimese Bhutia Organisation [NASBO] was held today in Gangtok which was attended by Zonal representatives of the organization. The daylong meeting discussed various topics, particularly the constitutional rights of the Sikkimese people.

In a NASBO press release, the organization statesthat no single section of Sikkimese population should play dominant role in the political affairs of Sikkim mainly by virtue of their ethnic origin.

“This has been the basic essence of the historic 08 May Tripartite Agreement and the Government of Sikkim Act 1974 followed by insertion of the Article 371F of the Constitution which are a prelude to the Annexation of Sikkim in 1975. Any attempt to disturb this constitutional position which is a testimony of long Sikkimese history and its subsequent evolution tantamount to redo Sikkim’s takeover by its own protecting power – India in 1975.

It is at such circumstances, this organization appeals to the Indian government that the political rights of the Sikkimese people of Bhutia, Lepcha and Nepali origin must be preserved and restored by ensuring to maintain the existing ratio of the Bhutia Lepcha seats in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly under any circumstances and to urgently restore the Nepali seats [including the Tsong] in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly.

These shall strengthen the distinct Sikkimese identity and rights while simultaneously strengthening Article 371F of the India constitution.

Further, those section of Sikkimese population included within the category of Scheduled Tribe may continue enjoying socio-economic benefits and privileges as are provided accordingly.

However, if the Union intends to disturb the existing arrangement in Sikkim Legislative Assembly by reducing the existing 37.5 % BL seat reservation in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly or if immediate step is not initiated to restore the Nepali seats [including the Tsong] in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, it will be a step closer to derecognizing Sikkim’s takeover by India in 1975 and the political commitments given to the Sikkimese people and the repercussion therein after,” the release states.

The organization has urged upon the Indian Union to act promptly on the basis of the above pre-Annexation developments, Article 371 F of the Constitution and the judgments of Supreme Court on the BL seat [RC Poudyal vs. Union of India].