SACAA criticizes SKM party celebration of ‘Pratiwad Diwas’
Gangtok, February 12: The anniversary of the infamous lathicharge of 2013 against the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha party members was celebrated as ‘Prativa Diwas’ on 11 February 2020. The brutal beatings and arrests that followed on were ordered by the then IGP, Akshay Sachdeva.
The SKM party which was then the opposition party had deemed this act as illegal and undemocratic. Prominent party workers like Bharti Sharma, Kala Rai and Rudra Khatiwada had been hospitalized during to their injuries. Since the change of Government in 2019, this day was celebrated by the SKM party leaders and supporters as Pratiwad Diwas.
The Sikkim Against Citizenship Amendment Act (SACAA) in a press conference on 11 February 2019 criticized the SKM Party for celebrating this day. According to a member of SACAA, Navin Kiran, 11 February should be Karwai Diwas (Investigation Day) and not Pratiwad Diwas. He feels that this move is a trick to fool Sikkimese people.
He says that Kala Rai and others on 5 July 2013, had filed a civil petition to the Supreme Court of India for an investigation against the person who gave the order for the lathi charge. During the second hearing, an enquiry was handed over to former Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh MC Dwivedi on the advise of the Solicitor General. After an enquiry, MC Dwivedi submitted a report on 11 November 2013.
Following this report the Supreme Court released this statement – ”It is for the state to take a holistic approach in the matter and indicate the next course of action it intends to take, depending on which the Court may need to examine further grievances of the petitioners”, which meant that the State could do as they deem fit. During this time, the SDF Party was the majority party in the House and this case was ongoing.
The Supreme Court on 11 November 2019 said – ”in view of the compliance affidavit filed by Ashwani Kumar Chand, IPS Resident Commissioner, Government of Sikkim, nothing remains for further consideration in this petition.” As the Government changed and the SKM Party became the majority party this ongoing case was withdrawn by the petitioners.
“This day should not be celebrated but should be investigated properly. It is a sad day for the political history of Sikkim because like me many other political figures from different parties had supported the SKM Party when this brutal lathi-charge happened. As soon as the government changed, the SKM Party withdrew the case. This shows how selfish they are for their own political gain. They should have investigated this case properly and punished the guilty party on behalf of their loyal supporters who were brutally injured that day.”
Under the 3 member enquiry committee of the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police and Home Secretary, IGP Akshay Sachdeva, had been suspended according to the All India Service Rule. Bharat Basnet, member of SACAA says ’’As soon as the Government changed, Akshay Sachdeva was reinstated to his post and his suspension was revoked. This lathi charge was at a party office, no different than an ordinary home. This lathi charge was also a trespassing violation. Many political figures from different parties had united against this violation the but now the SKM Party petitioners have withdrawn the case without proper investigation and punishment. SACAA doesn’t mean to insult the Police but illegal activities by the police did take place on that day. This is a selfish act of the party and injustice has been done.”
He added, ”This act of the SKM Party will weaken Sikkimese people’s belief on government and politics and it is better for the SKM Party to take leave from the Ministry than to deny their own supporters’ fundamental rights.”