Hills in Chamling protest

www.telegraphindia.com

Kalimpong, April 27: Opposition parties here have come down heavily on Pawan Chamling for his statement that outsiders will not be allowed to work in Sikkim and will be thrown out of the state.

Earlier this month, the chief minister of Sikkim, while reacting to the violence that rocked the Himalayan state following the death of a truck driver, blamed “outside forces” for stoking unrest in the state.

Not only that, on April 15, the panchayats in Sikkim had in a meet presided over by Chamling resolved to check outsiders residing in their areas and curb influx.

The Opposition, including the CPM, GNLF(C), ABGL and the Sikkim National Front, maintained in a press release issued today that it would request Chamling to withdraw his statement. It has also decided to contact the chief minister of West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, for his reaction.

D.K.Pradhan, the Kalimpong branch convener of the People’s Democratic Front, an anti-GNLF coalition in the hills, said: “We will ask the Sikkim chief minister to withdraw the statement as it is causing unnecessary friction between the hill people here and those living there. The issue should be put to an end right now.”

Referring to the recent trade unionism in Sikkim, Pradhan said: “If he is fearing intervention of any sort, he should solve it politically, not throw out ‘outsiders’ from Sikkim.”

According to Opposition parties, it was clear that by “outsiders” Chamling had meant those who are residents of Darjeeling hills, but work in the Himalayan state for their livelihood.

Tara Sundas, a zonal member of the CPM who is is also the president of Kalimpong Citu, said: “If he is so keen about throwing out outsiders, why is he not driving out the hundreds of residents from the plains who are working in several NHPC projects there?”

The Sikkim National Front president, R. Moktan, while claiming that Chamling’s statement was unconstitutional, claimed: “In 1975 when Sikkim was merged with India, the Himalayan state was quite backward. The people of Darjeeling hills had then played a key role in reviving the state.”

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