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7 Jul 2017

Sikkim to sue Bengal, Darjeeling statehood agitation ‘loss’ Rs 60,000 crore

Chewan K Dahal | TNN | 6 July 2017| GANGTOK: Sikkim has decided to sue Bengal for causing loss of over Rs 60,000 crore to the Himalayan state during the 32-year-long Gorkhaland statehood agitation in neighbouring Darjeeling.
Blaming the Bengal government for the immense financial loss, Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling on Thursday said his government will move the Supreme Court on the matter.
Chamling blamed Bengal for the violence in Darjeeling hills and criticised it for failing to maintain law and order in the region.
He said the Gorkhaland statehood demand was constitutional but the Bengal gov-ernment had ignored and supressed it, causing unrest in the Hills.
"Sikkim has been trapped in the internal conflict since 1985 and the Bengal government did nothing to provide safety to Sikkim; rather we were terrorised, beaten and looted. People have lived in terror all these years and suffered. They have been harassed by blocking of essential supplies of Sikkim," Chamling said, referring to incidents of attacks by miscreants and stoppage of Sikkim vehicles by the Bengal government.
"Our sovereignty and right to live with dignity have been violated and people are feeling insecure and terrified," the CM said while addressing a government function at Namchi in south Sikkim.
Asked for his reaction, Bengal law minister Moloy Ghatak said: "It will be inappropriate for me to comment on it now. Let the petition be filed. We need to see the contents before responding to it."
However, senior officials in Bengal felt that any compensation claim has certain legal "limitations" in terms of claim amounts and time-frame. "Moreover, for claims of these nature, it is the agitators who are penalized," a senior officer pointed out. Calcutta high court has on several occasions passed orders in this regard that will bolster the state's likely defence.
Sikkim is in constant touch with the Centre on the situation prevailing in Darjeeling hills and Siliguri region, Chamling said, adding that the central government was aware of the state's "sufferings".

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