‘Centre will not touch Article 371F’
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‘Centre will not touch Article 371F’

By The Hindu calender  10-Aug-2019

‘Centre will not touch Article 371F’

Even as he welcomed the amendment of Article 370 pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, better known as P.S. Golay, assured the people that the Centre will not interfere with Article 371F which provides special status to the State.
“The decision of the Union government to amend Article 370 is in the interest of the nation and we support it, but as far as Article 371F and other similar provisions are concerned, we heard in Parliament that Union Home Minister Amit Shah said these provisions will continue,” Mr. Golay told journalists.
Mr. Golay’s remarks came as the Opposition parties in the State sought an assurance about the fate of Article 371F.

 
“Article 371F is a special feature for Sikkim and its people and there can be no question of its modification,” he said.
Mr. Golay also rejected any possibility of merger of Sikkim and Darjeeling hills, and said that Sikkim is protected by Article 371F of the Constitution, which is the result of the agreement in 1975 between the Union of India, the king of Sikkim and the State’s political parties.
‘No merger’
“Those demanding Gorkhaland for Darjeeling hills are doing so as per their constitutional right. It is for the Centre to decide on whether to agree with it or not. However, there is no question of its merger with Sikkim,” he said.
After the reorganisation of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the political parties in Darjeeling hills have been demanding the status of a Union Territory.
A press statement by Sikkim’s Information and Public Relations Department on August 8 said that Mr. Golay, during his recent visit to New Delhi, had requested the political leaders at the Union level to protect Article 371F.
“More than the legal provisions in Article 371F, it is a very emotive issue and every political party in the State, including the national parties, stress upon how important the Article is,” said Pema Wangchuk, senior journalist and consulting editor of Summit TIMES.
He said that Article 371F is one of the key terms of the merger of Sikkim with India in 1975.

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