HSP to approach Supreme Court seeking removal of ‘immigrant’ tag against Sikkimese Nepalis

HSP to approach Supreme Court seeking removal of ‘immigrant’ tag against Sikkimese Nepalis
Tue, Nov 27, 2018

GANGTOK: Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) vice president Bhaichung Bhutia on Monday said the party members would be filing a petition in the Supreme Court soon for removing the ‘immigrant’ tag on the Nepalis of Sikkimese origin.
“We have made strong preparations and would be going to Delhi tomorrow and file the case in the Supreme Court within next 3-4 days. We want the word ‘immigrant’ as mentioned in a Supreme Court judgement against the Sikkimese Nepalis is amended or removed by the apex court,” said Bhaichung at a press meet here at Deorali HSP head-office.
Bhaichung and HSP spokesperson Biraj Adhikari informed that the judgement of Supreme Court more than two and half decades ago contain the word ‘immigrant’ against the Sikkimese Nepalis.
The judgement from a 5-bench of Supreme Court was in a RC Poudyal vs Union of India case.
“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 community and we will challenge this in the apex court,” said the HSP executives.
“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,” said Bhaichung.
“Until and unless the word ‘immigrant’ is removed, the Sikkimese Nepalis would continue to feel a sense of injustice and it will continue to create hurdles for the community. A large section of the Sikkimese society has been hurt by this word,” said Adhikari.
Bhaichung said it is unfortunate that the SDF government did nothing to correct this historical injustice to the Sikkimese Nepali community.
“The SDF party in its manifesto before 1994 elections had promised to remove this tag of ‘immigrant’ and to restore the Nepali Assembly seats. It formed the government on this promise but 25 years have gone by and the SDF government has done nothing,” he said.
Bhaichung appealed all political parties to support the step taken by the HSP in the larger interest of the people of Sikkim.
“During our tour across the State, we meet people and they expressed their sense of hurt with the word ‘immigrant’. They are not confident whether the Nepali seats will be given by the Centre as the Nepalis have been tagged as immigrants. We want to address this feeling of injustice,” he said. We request people not to see this as a political move, he added.

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi