HSP to approach Supreme Court to remove “immigrant” tag from 1992 judgment

Gangtok, 26 Nov:

Hamro Sikkim Party today announced plans to approach the Supreme Court with a petition seeking to remove the “immigrant” tag used by the apex court in its 1992 judgement in reference to the Sikkimese Nepali community.

This was announced by the HSP vice president, Bhaichung Bhutia and spokesperson, Biraj Adhikari, while addressing a press meet at the party office here in Deorali today.

Mr Bhutia pointed out that the Nepali community of Sikkim had been tagged as ‘immigrant’ in a judgement of the Supreme Court in the RC Poudyal vs Union of India case. The case had started in 1979 and judgement was delivered in 1992 by a bench of five judges of the Supreme Court.

“The best way to correct this ‘immigrant’ word against the Sikkimese Nepali community is to again approach the Supreme Court. It cannot be done in Sikkim by making political speeches as the matter has to be brought before the Supreme Court. We have made strong preparations and will be going to Delhi tomorrow and will file the case in the court within the next 3-4 days. We want the word ‘immigrant’ amended or removed and this can be done only by filing a case in the Supreme Court,” said Mr. Bhutia.

“We must remember that Sikkim had three ethnic communities – Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalis. During the merger agreement of Sikkim with Indian Union, the three communities had been defined as Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalis of Sikkimese origin and thus became Indians after the merger. Despite this, the word ‘immigrant’ was used against the Sikkimese Nepali and we will challenge this in the apex court,” he detailed further.

The HSP spokesperson, in turn, added that unless the word ‘immigrant’ is removed, the Sikkimese Nepalis will continue to feel a sense of injustice and this will continue to create hurdles for the community. A large section of the Sikkimese society has been hurt by this word, he reiterated.

Mr Bhutia went on to comment that it was “unfortunate” that the SDF government did nothing to correct this historical injustice on the Sikkimese Nepali community.

“The SDF party in its manifesto before 1994 elections had promised to remove this word. It formed the government with this as one of the promises, but 25 years have gone by and the SDF government has done nothing about it,” he said.

Mr Bhutia appealed to all political parties to support the step taken by the HSP in the larger interest of the people of Sikkim.