SDF party President and former Chief Minister Pawan Chamling while addressing the party workers in a Labour Day celebration at SDF Bhawan, Gangtok earlier today elaborately spoke on the burning topic of SKM-SDF clash at Soreng. This came amidst an active investigation against one of his party leaders Avinash Yakha. A case was registered against Yakha under Arms Act on April 30 after a video of him firing a pistol surfaced on various social media platforms. In the video Yakha was seen running away while firing gun shots in the air. After the incident SKM workers lodged an FIR in the Soreng Police Station.
SDF party today released a statement defending Yakha and alleging SKM to have instigated the violence. The statement read that the SDF party workers were attempted to be murdered with sharp objects and stones, responding to which Yakha took out his “licensed pistol” in self defence and shot it in the air in attempts to escape the scene.
The statement further reads “Avinash Yakha has a valid Arms License No. 143/Arms/2012 issued by Sikkim Police. The Arms License is issued taking into consideration his security threat perception to defend himself by the Sikkim Police” SDF’s statement said. The statement further said, “SKM Party dont jump to fast conclusion and politicise the firing incident which happened at Soreng when a brutal life-threatening attack was planned by the SKM Party. It was sure that SKM had planned to murder Avinash Yakha, Arun Limboo and Rickzing Norbu Bhutia and other leaders of the SDF party. Luckily, they managed to save themselves and escape to safety.”
Recollecting a previous clash between SDF and SKM, and alleging that the police is being controlled by SKM workers, the statement read, “What happened at Sadar Police Station, Gangtok on 28th March again repeated at Soreng Police Station as all SKM Goons were protected and safeguarded by the Police and Thana. Severely wounded victim arrested and denied medical treatment and the attackers SKM Goons roaming freely and controlling the Thana and Police.”
Amongst the stir in the state, SDF president has alleged that it was SKM who have been instigating the violence. He said that it was them who surrounded the SDF party workers on their way to an opening of a SDF party office in Soreng district and that the office for SDF Labour Front executive was being opened with the permission of the government. “We had a meeting (in Soreng party office) and we had a program of inaugurating a new party office for the Labour executive, which was being done with the permission from the government and the SP Soreng had given us the permission for the opening ceremony and to hold a meeting,” Chamling said.“After our workers had gathered to go to the opening ceremony, SKM party workers had staked our workers out and surrounded the workers who were near the venue. Around 200 SKM workers and hired goons under the orders of a few politicians had assaulted our workers,” Chamling alleged. “Almost 50 vehicles of SDF party have been damaged and our youth leaders Arun Limboo, Rickzing Norbu Bhutia, Avinahs Yakha, Sukraj Limboo, Bichitra Thapa, Satish Mohan Pradhan, etc were assaulted and were seriously injured, apart from that almost 50 of our workers were hit with pelted sones,” he further added.
Taking a stance against the allegations from the SKM party members who have said that SDF have come to using guns Chamling said, “Police give the license to use firearms if they are under a life-threatening condition and the person (Yakha) who had the pistol was a license holder, and it was for his self defence.” “No one was harmed, nobody was shot, because he shot it in the air for self-defense while he was surrounded from all sides and he was under the threat of being murdered.” Chamling added.
Speaking on the viral video Chamling said that the SKM party workers were there with the intention to kill. “If you watch the video carefully you can hear SKM workers saying that we have to kill them (SDF workers), and this is a clear indication of SKM being a party of goons,” he said. “Arun Limboo who was the most seriously beaten up but he was taken from the hospital by the police without even being treated properly and our FIR that has been lodged after hindrances hasn’t even been talked about, and that is the kind of injustice we are facing,” he added.
“We have no idea where our workers are, Arun Limboo is in jail, no idea where Rickzing Norbu is, no idea where Avinash Yakha is, and he might even have been murdered and discarded by SKM goons, we have no idea where they are, and if anything happens to them the blame will go to SKM party and the present government,” Chamling strongly said.
Alleging that the present government is abusing its power Chamling said, “The government’s job is to protect the interests of the public, the government should protect the liberty of the people, it should let democracy function. The government should let other parties hold meetings, people should be able to speak, should be able to write in the paper, they should be able to speak via social media, but the government has hampered even the personal lifelines of the public.”
Chamling alleged that SKM is doing “political terrorism” in the state and said that SKM was preventing other political parties from functioning, that they were not letting people even visit other political functions, creating rifts between people of different political affiliations and that they were abusing the power given to them by the people.
“They (SKM) have started an organized political terrorism in which everyone from top to the bottom are in on it, he (CM PS Tamang) has cherrypicked people that match his creed, his cast, and picked people with his familial ties and placed them in police stations all over Sikkim, and the police aren’t doing the people’s work but rather SKM and Golay’s work,” Chamling said while putting serious allegations towards SKM, the CM and police department.