Former Chief Minister and President of the SDF party Pawan Chamling condemns the vandalism at the State Secretariat calling it an attack on national and Sikkimese dignity. He also says that Sikkim being a border state any attack on its secretariat raises serious security concerns. More so when the state government has failed to arrest any culprits even after so many days despite CCTV Footages. He also demands the clarification from government about such massive security lapse in the high security zone. He has asked why has Sikkim’s Home Minister not resigned so far.
“Q. Sikkim created bad history again with the shocking vandalism committed in the State Secretariat. There is widespread shock, fear and speculation in the state. As a five term Chief Minister who worked from that very office, what are your feelings and thoughts?
Ans. I am deeply anguished and ashamed about the lowest level to which our beloved, peaceful and previously fastest developing state has been pushed into by an utterly inefficient, careless, irresponsible, visionless and backward thinking so called leadership. I condemn the vandalism in the state secretariat, the centre of the state administration with all my heart and mind.I demand a centrally conducted investigation and sternest actions against all the culprits.
I want the people of Sikkim to think about the following incidents that have taken place and see where we have reached as a state.
(a) I, who served Sikkim as Chief Minister for five terms and as MLA for three terms was heckled by goons right inside the Sikkim Legislative Assembly.
(b) A senior doctor – cardiologist was murdered in the state’s premier hospital (New STNM) right in front of his colleagues.
(c) One of the oldest offices – the LD Kazi Foundation’s headquarters, located in the middle of the capital city of Gangtok was burned midday.
(d) Now the Secretariat building has been vandalized and important departments like the Home, Health, Personal and Gazette have been ransacked.
Law and Order (Police) is a State Subject. To ensure safety against crimes, the security of the people’s lives and properties and public properties is the responsibility of the state government and the Sikkim government has failed on every front. Crime is on the rise. The government, instead of controlling crimes, has been bullying innocent people through arrest warrants, victimizations, stone pelting and verbal threats from the CM himself, (“I will show you who Goley is”). There is an undeclared emergency in Sikkim. Do we need any more warnings and signs about Sikkim’s existential threat? Should we now not know that the law and order situation in the state has completely failed? What more are we waiting for?
These heinous crimes rising at a lightening pace are nothing but the consequence of Chief Minister PS Tamang’s famous and most shameful line – tyo malai thaha bhayena. This was his answer to a journalist who asked him outside the Assembly about goons heckling me inside the house a few hours previous. In the Legislative Assembly only elected members (MLAs) can speak and only with the permission of the Speaker. But unfortunately, the SKM sponsored goons shouted ‘chor, chor’ from the gallery and all the members of the treasury bench apart from the CM shouted, cheering on the goons in the gallery. The Speaker was watching their shameful fun as a mute spectator. After three years, no action has been taken against any of those criminals. ‘Tyo malai thaha bhayena’ is the final verdict.
After every crime, all we hear from Mintokgang is ‘Tyo malai thaha bhayena’ and the goons continue to clap. When the Chief Minister knows nothing and lives in eternal ignorance chanting his lair mantra ‘tyo malai thaha bhayena’, the goons and criminals will run riot. Our Chief Minister must be given the “Most Ignorant Chief Minister Award’ for not knowing anything. Neither does he know what crimes are going on in the state nor does he know how to run a state peacefully and progressively.
The vandalism that took place in the Secretariat is an extremely serious matter. Sikkim, being a border state, sharing international borders in the west, north and east and with another international border not very far in the south, to experience such a security lapse, that too in the Home department of the Secretariat, raises serious security concerns. It is not a case of petty thieves breaking into a house to steal money. Why would any thieves take the risk of vandalising the Secretariat – an office building – for money? They could loot a bank, a business company or the homes of rich people for money. Why did they attack the Secretariat? Why did they ransack the Home department store, and other important offices? No state Secretariat has been attacked so far in our country’s history. Why the Sikkim secretariat? There could be a serious national security threat. We cannot rule out that it could possibly be an attack on our national integrity and sovereignty. I affirm that it is an attack on national as well as Sikkimese security and dignity. This is possibly the first incidence in Indian history in which a Secretariat has been vandalized. What is even more alarming is that the culprits have not been nabbed even after so many days. Their entire movements should have been captured on CC camera. Police should have used those footages to identify and arrest the culprits. Isn’t is a shame that Sikkim Police, one of India’s most famous police forces hasn’t been able to catch the miscreants who broke into the state’s most secured office building? For Sikkim, it is as serious as the North Block and South Block of the Central Secretariat being attacked. The Secretariat is a high security zone with round the clock security and CC cameras. Even the CCTV is under vigilant and constant watch by security people round the clock. It is impossible for any miscreants to even try to break into the building, let alone ransack the offices. It is only possible when the vandalism is carried out in cognizance and patronship of the ruling government. I have, therefore, valid reasons to suspect that this was probably carried out under the sponsorship of the state administration. There is a serious conspiracy hatched in partnership with the Sikkim government. What makes my suspicion even more serious is that the Home department has been ransacked. It is the department which is like the heart of the state administration. The Personal and Gazette departments have equal significance. The Health department had been under repeated public criticism. People are complaining about no medicines available in government hospitals. They have been asked to buy everything. Also there is suspicion about Covid funds being mis-utilized. I therefore demand a thorough judicial inquiry into the vandalism. Some anti-Sikkim forces are perhaps conspiring to attack the very history of Sikkim. Just about three years ago, when the SKM government was formed, they burned 18 truckloads of government books which had the records from the Chogyal reign to the SDF governance. Just a month ago, Culture Park in Yangang was burnt to ashes and the culprits could not be nabbed. People are suspecting that the attempt to burn the LD Kazi foundation’s office could be related to the construction at the old West Point School. It must be investigated.
I pose the following demands and questions to the Sikkim Government.
a. Why has the Home Minister not resigned? If he has any sense of morality and responsibility, he has to take all the blame upon himself.
b. Why is there no official announcement of anyone responsible for security of the Secretariat being suspended so far?
c. I demand the list of documents or any other public related records that have gone missing to be made public by all the departments that have been ransacked as soon as possible.
d. I demand the concerned departments to step back and hand over the inquiry to an independent body so that a thorough and fair investigation is conducted.
e. I demand detailed information from the home department about the condition of the CC cameras, the security situation and the reason of lapses. This information must be released to the public. How did such a huge lapse take place?
Let the government know that the Secretariat, like any other government property, belongs to the people. When the government fails to maintain, run and secure them, the people need an answer.”
Vice-President, Publicity Affairs