Sonam Lama, Minister of Rural Development Department on Pre lossong celebration at Martam on December 27 in his address stated that, “In Lho-Men-Tsong Sum, in Tsong many nepali has its own castes. All of them have their own traditions.”
Meanwhile, Limboo Tamang Voluntary Committee claiming the statement to be false said, “We condemn Minister Sonam Lama’s misleading and factually incorrect interpretation of Lho-Men-Tsong Sum, the history of Sikkim and the Limbu people”
Furthermore, LTVC claimed Lama lacked in ‘factual understanding of Sikkim’s history’, “This statement proves that a minister in Sikkim Government, and definitely the speaker as person, lacks proper and factual understanding of Sikkim’s history. Tsong people, and Sikkimese as a whole, should ask him for the proof concerning the misinterpretation he has publicly stated. We demand Mr. Lama to provide the evidence from where he has derived such a distorted view of our Sikkimese society.”
“Ringu Tulku in his authoritative translation of the treaty clearly stated Tsong being Limbu indigenous ethnic tribe. There are several sources to prove the same. Nowhere do we find Nepalis as Tsong which maintain ancestral and historical differences as distinct communities. According to a notification issued by Welfare Department, government of Sikkim on the September 13, 2018, Limbu tribe is same as Limboo, Subba, Tsong and Yakthung/ Yakthum. Unfortunately it seems the Minister is unaware of vital developments resorting to denigrating Limbu people.”
“The SKM government and Minister Lama himself had promised to instate Limbu-Tamang seats within 10 days of coming to power. Sikkimese wholly know this. The recent misinterpretation on the Minister’s end and the absence of our Member of Parliament is evident that the sitting governement is insincere to the LT seat.”
LTVC in addition demanded the explanation along with a formal apology and publicly state the real history of the god-given honourable Sikkimese people, “True solidarity and unity cannot stand on distortion of facts. Sikkimese history is a testimony against forced assimilation of any kind, and we appeal to all organizations, NGOs and the good Sikkimese citizen, to create awareness against historical misinterpretations and maintain belief in true history.”
What is Lho-Men-Tsong Sum?
According to Buddhi L Khamdhak’s ‘The Sikkimese Limboo: A historical retrospection’ it is mentioned that Lhoree means Bhutias Menree means Lepchas and Tsongree as Limboos “After the acceptance of PhuntsokNamgyal as their first ruler by the three ethnic communities, Bhutia, Lepcha and Limboo or Yakthungba, an agreement historically known as ‘Lho-Men-Tsong-Sum’was signed at DenjongPhuntsokKhangsar between the Ministers of Chogyal Chenpo on one side and the leaders of Lepcha and Limboo on the other side invoking the local deities of Pahungree, Phamurong, Tashiding, Pemayangtse, Thekchoyangtse, Rabdentseetc.”
“While signing an agreement of trinity, they pledged and put their seals on the agreement swearing-in that the people of ‘Lho-Men-Tsong-sum’ will thereafter not have separate self-government but abide by one order, one destiny, one government and one religion.The main reason behind this agreement was to consolidate Namgyalrule and ensure co-operation among the Lhoree (Bhutias), Menree (Lepchas) and Tsongree (Limboos) who inhabited Sikkim at that time”
Furthermore, the study claims that, “The Limboos, along with the Lepchas, inhabited the land of present Sikkim from immemorial. In the record of Sprigg, the Limboos of Sikkim were living even before there was Sikkim for them to live in.”
Another study titled The Limboo Tribe of Sikkim also claimed Tsong to be Limboos not Nepalis, “Lho-Men-Tshong-Sum” were the Bhutias (Lhoree) were to thought to be a dad Lepcha (Menree) a mother and Limboo (Tsongree) a child” reads the study
As per Government of Sikkim DESME report of the year 2006 and census report of 2011 the total population of Limboo in Sikkim is 56,650 which is 9.32% of 607688 total population of Sikkim.