In most cases, the state governments from North Eastern regions keep blaming the unrest within the respective State or external forces for the breakdown of the Law and Order situation. However, Sikkim, considered as the only Brother of the Seven Sisters North Eastern states, has compelled the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to take note of the unwarranted attacks on vehicles bearing Sikkim Registration number on the Highway over the past couple of days. The attacks started after Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling supported the Gorkhaland movement – a justified long-pending demand of the people of the Darjeeling hills.
It may be recalled that through a Press Communiqué Government of Sikkim is considering suing the West Bengal government at the Supreme Court, alleging heavy loss of revenue because of the agitation in the neighboring state for a separate Gorkhaland. Sikkim government assesses it has lost around Rs. 60,000 crore over the past 32 years because of the agitation for a new state of “Gorkhaland” to be carved out of West Bengal.
Such development comes in the middle of a standoff next to Sikkim - which borders China - after Chinese troops tried to build a road near the India, China, Bhutan tri-junction last month. Sikkim’s Chief Minister Pawan Chamling said the people of Sikkim did not merge the state with the Indian Union to become a sandwich between China and Bengal. Whereas the blockades due to the agitations by Gorkha groups has impacted Sikkim because it is connected to two highways both of which pass through the North Bengal hills. Chamling said his state’s development had been hit for three decades because of the protests and blockades, and tourism had also been affected. However, he was quick to urge people not to panic over any talk of scarcity of food and essential commodities because of the blockades.
Rajnath Singh on July 9, 2017 spoke to Chamling and assured him of all support to ensure the safety and security of National Highway 10 in the wake of agitations there last week. The NH 10 is Sikkim’s only road link with the rest of the nation. Last week Sikkim-registered vehicles were vandalised in West Bengal during the ongoing agitation for Gorkhaland.
Such move of Chamling not only managed to arrest the attention of the Home Ministry, he also won the confidence of the citizens of Sikkim and the other North Eastern states. His political will to maintain peace and harmony, at the same time not to affect the only lifeline of the state, where tourism is the main sources of revenue, has removed the barricade which causes the choke due to the unrest in West Bengal for the demand of Gorkhaland.
Chamling’s action only reveals the Political Will of his government, unlike the other states, which would simply allow the situation to deteriorate, and yet refuse to accept there are troubles in their respective State. Leave aside the agitation, even in normal situation, the Meghalaya Registration number vehicles keep complaining of being harassed by Assam Traffic Police, while Assam vehicles are freely moving across Meghalaya without any obstruction, yet the state government had never taken up such issues with its counterpart in many of their inter-state meeting.
Meghalaya government too needs to take note on how to take cognition of all sorts of situation, face the reality, and demand similar attention of the Union Government without compromising on the Law and Order situation of the state, which will affect the economy of the state. Secondly, respective governments should exercise iron fist approach while dealing with any trouble makers and not blaming any external forces.