Gangtok: The Joint Action Council (JAC) has raised concerns and requested a status report from the State government regarding the ‘Sikkimese’ definition resolution passed in the special Assembly session earlier this year. The JAC aims to protect the distinct ‘Sikkimese’ identity and is seeking updates on the resolution’s progress. Additionally, the JAC is keen to learn about the status of the all-party committee formed to safeguard Sikkimese identity. JAC emphasizes the importance of public input through a public hearing and intends to submit a representation to the committee.
ILP Demand and Land Registration Issues
JAC’s Vice President, Passang Gyali Sherpa, reiterated the demand for Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Sikkim. The committee constituted by the State government has reportedly recommended the implementation of ILP. The JAC expects the State government to pass an ILP resolution in the Assembly. In addition, Sherpa highlighted concerns about land registration guidelines. The JAC expressed that the guidelines issued by the government permit non-Sikkimese individuals to purchase and register lands, potentially compromising the protection of indigenous lands. The JAC seeks clarification from organizations representing Bhutia, Lepcha, and Limboo communities on these matters.
JAC’s Commitment to Sikkimese Interests
While the JAC’s momentum may have seemed diminished, General Secretary Keshav Sapkota emphasized the organization’s ongoing commitment to protecting the Sikkimese distinct identity. Sapkota stated that the JAC will soon establish a permanent structure and operate apolitically to safeguard Sikkimese interests.
Implications for Sikkim’s Future
The JAC raised concerns about the 2018 notification on land registration, which it deemed illegal. Despite a committee’s determination that the notification should be withdrawn, the government issued new guidelines on sale and land deed registration. These guidelines open avenues for non-Sikkimese individuals to purchase and register lands, potentially threatening the rights of indigenous communities. The JAC questions the basis and beneficiaries of these new guidelines, highlighting the declining population and diminishing private holdings of indigenous people.
As the JAC seeks answers and resolutions, the future of Sikkim and the preservation of its distinct identity remain crucial considerations.
Gangtokian Web Team, 09/06/23