A bizarre law and order situation occurred in Singtam today, where unidentified miscreants attacked JAC General Secretary Keshav Sapkota and taxi driver Ashok Tamang. According to reports, the pro-Sikkimese ad hoc group Joint Action Committee (JAC), which was formed to protect Sikkimese rights, has been vocal since January following the Supreme Court judgment in the case of All Old Settlers of Sikkim vs. State, where the body strongly condemned the fact that the Sikkimese Nepali-speaking community was referred to as “foreigners” in the AOSS petition.
A few days ago, the JAC called a press conference expressing concerns about the Financial Bill passed by the Lok Sabha, which gave Income Tax Exemption to people who were settled in Sikkim before 1975. The JAC objected to the bill, saying that it had severely weakened the rights of the Sikkimese people and changed the definition of Sikkimese, and that it had also scrapped the old laws of Sikkim with the passage of the bill, subject to the assent of the President of India, last week.
In response, the JAC called for a peaceful rally on April 8th in Singtam, but the administration only allowed a rally in the capital Gangtok from Indira Bypass to the DC East Premises. Refusing to accept this advisory, the JAC organized a rally in Singtam on Saturday morning without the consent of the administration. As a result, a mob riot broke out in which JAC General Secretary Keshav Sapkota and driver Ajay Tamang were brutally beaten in broad daylight, despite the police force’s efforts to control the situation. Both victims are currently receiving medical treatment at a hospital. In addition, former SDF MLA Dr. Mechung Bhutia’s vehicle was also vandalized by unknown troublemakers.
In a statement to the media, SP Tenzing Loden Lepcha of Gangtok IPS confirmed that a complaint had been received from both victim sides, JAC Keshav Sapkota and Driver Ajay Tamang , regarding the violent incident that occurred in Singtam. However, no complaint has been received from Dr. Mechung’s side until now. The police have registered a case in connection with the incident and will arrest everyone involved after identifying them based on clear videos circulating on social media. Presently both of the victims have been referred to Gangtok since they’ve sustained major injuries during the mob attack.
SP Lepcha stated that no permission was granted for any rally to be carried out in Singtam on that day, as two other events were already taking place in the area. Although permission was later given for a rally from Amdogolai till DCE in Gangtok, the JAC failed to comply and carried out the rally in Singtam, which could have caused stress on National Highway 10. The police had made necessary preparations and stationed troops at Indreni Bridge, Concrete Bridge, and Walk-way pedestrian. However, an altercation occurred between the two sides, and Keshav Sapkota was attacked by a group of hooligans. The police attempted to disperse the crowd without resorting to lathi-charge. Three miscreants have been arrested, and the rest will be arrested based on visible evidence in video and picture footage available with the police. The police imposed Section 144 of the CrPC immediately after the incident.
Condemning the blood-shed attack on two members by an unknown miscreants in broad daylight the various political parties shave gave their statement like BJP, Congress , SDF , Bhaichung Bhutia led HSP. Parties called the incident very much uncalled demanded immediate arrest of those involved.
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