Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bhutias, Lepchas slam Sikkim Govt over Panchayat quota

GANGTOK, Oct 8 – The indigenous Bhutia and Lepcha communities of Sikkim have criticised the State Government for ignoring their stake for reservation of seats in the panchayat on the lines of SC/STs, MBCs, OBCs and women. The convenor of the Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee, Tseten Tashi Bhutia, said that the denial of the ‘legitimate’ right of the Bhutias and Lepchas, who comprise 20 per cent of the State’s population, was a ‘conspiracy’. He told reporters that it would hinder the socio-economic development of Sikkim and impede upon the political rights of these communities in the long run. Bhutia alleged that the SDF Government ‘deliberately’ undermined the political rights of the communities, saying that the committee was seeking legal opinion to challenge the State Election Commission notification detailing reservation for various communities ahead of the Panchayat poll slated for October 26. Bhutia asked the people of these communities to contest the panchayat polls ‘under protest’. He lashed out at the 13 MLAs for failing to protest the government’s bypassing of their demand for reservation.