Now that farmers are scrubbed of all insinuations, Khaling should also apologise to SPYF members he

Sagar Chhetri

Gangtok, 13 Dec:

Now that all the obnoxious tags of being anti-nationals or extremists have been banished from the image of protesting farmers, Sikkim Progressive Youth Forum has demanded an unconditional apology from Sikkim Krantikari Morcha spokesperson, Jacob Khaling, who is also the Political Secretary to the CM, for his branding of four SPYF members as anti-nationals and terrorists for having participated in the farmer’s protest at Singhu border.

SPYF has interpreted the Prime Minister's televised address about withdrawing the Farm laws as an apology to the farmers and has asserted that if the PM can apologise to the farmers, the political secretary to the CM should do the same to the SPYF members whom he had accused for having gone to Singhu border in solidarity with the same farmers.

SPYF has stressed that the state government cannot sit silent on this issue, especially not after the PM's move.

Addressing a press conference here today, SPYF general secretary Rupen Karki stressed that Mr Khaling had defamed four of its members by calling them terrorists and anti-national in public and had released their photographs at the protest site.

He reminded Mr Khaling that he had even asked for NIA, RAW and CBI enquiries into these four SPYF members and their support for the farmers and even alluded that they might have been involved in the 26 January violence in New Delhi.

On the same, Mr Karki has demanded that the "enquiry report" be made public and if the SPYF members were involved in any act of violence, action be taken against them and if not, then a public apology be tendered for the allegations levelled in public. '

SYPF executive member, Shankar Sharma, further reiterated the two-point demand of the organization which has remained pending for a few years now - implementation of Indian Public Health Standards [IPHS] guidelines at all government hospitals and health centers and free medicines and medical facilities to all the people of Sikkim.

He shared that there was some improvement in government hospitals after SPYF's movement in 2018, but the people are still facing difficulties at the district hospital, PHC and PHSC levels due to lack of facilities and equipment.

He added that SPYF had also submitted a memorandum on these two demands supported by signatures of more than 10,000 people but issues raised in the memorandum remain largely unaddressed.

On the more current worries, Mr Sharma highlighted that online education has failed school students in rural Sikkim for the past two years.

The education of students in rural Sikkim has been further compromised by the lack of teachers in rural school. On the same, he demanded that now that in-person classes have begun, schools should run smoothly and be staffed with sufficient teachers.