GANGTOK, 1 APRIL: Few days after the Sikkim Chief Minister, Mr Pawan Chamling, said Nepali-speaking Indian citizens are being muddled with Nepalese citizens because of the 1950 Indo-Nepal friendship treaty, the Akhil Bharatiya Nepali Bhasha Sangharsh Samiti (ABNBSS) today said the Chamling government ignoring the issue has led to the ‘identity crisis’ having compounded.
“The state government’s refusal to recognise Nepali as Sikkim’s official language is responsible for our plight,” said the convenor of the samiti, Mr Anjan Upadhyaya, while talking to the media yesterday.
The samiti has remained in the van of the movement, demanding recognition of Nepali as official language across the North-eastern state that began in the 1990s.
“Sikkim should play an aggressive role in articulating the national identity grievances involving the Indian Nepalese. We will hold a national level seminar on the sensitive issue soon. We expect all the political parties operating in the state should join us”, Mr Upadhyaya.
He also reiterated the organisation’s demand to grant linguistic minority status for the Nepali community of India.
The Sikkim Darjeeling Ekikaran Manch, spearheading a movement for unification of the Darjeeling Hills in West Bengal with Sikkim, on the other hand, threw weight behind the Chief Minister, saying he should take the matter up with the Centre.
“Presently he is the only leader representing the Indian Nepalese at the national level and he is enjoying a status to forcibly raise the emotive issue with the Centre,” said the general secretary of the Manch, Mr Shankar Hang Subba.
Meanwhile, the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) said the ruling party has returned to its typical brand of politics pandering to ethnicities with eyes riveted on next year’s Assembly polls.
“His initiative to provide Income Tax exemption to the Old Settlers from mainland India would exacerbate inter-ethnic tension in the state,” said SKM spokesperson, M.N.Dahal in a press statement released yesterday.