Gangtok, June 10:
Sikkim’s apex tribal body Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SIBLAC) has condemned the recent incident in Namchi wherein effigy of the Indian Football star Bhaichung Bhutia was burnt in daylight amid lockdown by dozens of women. It was informed by press communiqué issued SIBLAC Convenor Tseten Tashi Bhutia today. Communiqué reads “time raises a serious question whether the people who took part in the incident were overzealous activists or were supporters of a party trying to prove their loyalty by trying to suppress a voice of dissent. During this time of pandemic and lockdown, it is surprising that law enforcement has neither given any official statement of the incident nor taken any action against the people who broke the law.” It further reads the incident of Namchi highlights the growing intolerance of ruling parties towards dissenting voices towards their policies and the use of different methods to suppress and threaten opposition from voicing their opinions. The constitution of India gives the sacred right of speech so that every citizen can give his opinion, it is up to the government whether to accept or reject the opinions but in no way try to muzzle the citizen by threatening him. Bhaichung Bhutia and former Chief Minister Shri P.K.Chamling had both placed their opinions about the government’s handling of the Covid-19 situation in the state but the government reaction to both were different, while the government gave a press briefing against the former chief minister’s opinions, the reaction towards Bhaichung Bhutia was more robust through their proxies though the government denies any hand in it. Various incidents of intolerance during this pandemic period has come to light with NGOs and persons giving aid and consultation to Covid-19 affected people being forced to abandon their social work because they belong to a different party or differ with the way the government is implementing its duties. There is a time for everything even political differences but during this time of pandemic and economic difficulties, it is up to the government to take a more progressive and mature stance to involve all to tackle the present problems and give relief to the suffering of the public. It is not proper of a responsible government to attack opposition parties to divert the attention of the public to hide their own weaknesses in tackling the present situation. The leadership of a state is judged by the way it handles problems during time of difficulties and the solutions it come up with to solve the problems and not by the way it suppresses public opinions pointing to its weaknesses. Our organization condemns the incident at Namchi and appeals to the public to refrain from any illegal activities which can endanger the lives of the people by spreading the Covid infection. We appeal to all to lend their hand in tackling the pandemic and to abide by the safety instructions of the government. Our organization is ready to participate in any activity towards alleviating the problems caused by this pandemic.