Sikkim govt opposes live court broadcast, citing Indo-China tension
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Sikkim govt opposes live court broadcast, citing Indo-China tension

By The Week calender  23-Jul-2019

Sikkim govt opposes live court broadcast, citing Indo-China tension

The Sikkim government has opposed the broadcasting of court proceedings of a dispute over a place of worship at Gurudongmar lake, North Sikkim, citing national security as the main reason. This comes months after the Supreme Court of India allowed the live streaming of court proceedings of constitutional importance.
The additional director at the Ecclesiastical department of Sikkim government, which preserves the crucial North Sikkim, said, in a reply to the Sikkim High Court, that the dispute at Gurudongmar is not constitutional in nature, but involving matter of national security which also may unnecessarily provoke sentiments and arouse passions and provoke enmity among communities.
“The case is very sensitive from the point of national security as there is every likelihood of enmity being provoked between local tribal people living in the border areas. Therefore, it is not at all fit to permit live streaming of the court proceedings in the instant case,” said the reply of the government, as sought by the High Court.
The petition was filed by the Gurudwara committee of Siliguri as they wanted to show the proceedings across the Sikh community and the SGPC in Amritsar. The state government opposed the plea in the court. The government has also opposed the audio-video recording of the proceedings.
The government further stated that the place where the issue has taken place is a sensitive border with China, rendered even more complicated after the Doklam issue in 2017. The Sikkim government has also mentioned that there was escalation of tension in Nathula border as well between India and China.
“The Sikkim state is a sensitive border state, sharing its boundary with China in the east. Recently, media had reported the escalation in tension between India and China in the Nathula border; the Doklam issue has also drawn national and international attention. The security in the north district was accordingly increased by the government of India for the sake of national security,” said submission by the government.
“It is also pertinent to state before the honorable court that the entire North Sikkim falls under a protected area and entry requires permits even for the local people. The area in question [Gurudongmar] is located in a highly restricted area as it shares its border with China. It is therefore in the best interest of the state as well as of the country to not permit live streaming of court proceedings of a case involving sensitive religious issue which might provoke sentiments and arouse the passion of enmity amongst the communities,” the Sikkim government further stated.
Amrit Pal Singh, advocate and one of the petitioners in the case, said that the argument of the Sikkim government is frivolous.
“How could the government escape from the fact that it failed to protect holy Gurudwara at Gurudongmar which has immense historical importance? The case is very important as Sikhs are prohibited today from entering into Gurudongmar,” said Singh.

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