Sikkim health minister Mani Kumar Sharma Thursday resigned from his post in protest against the state government’s handling of the Supreme Court’s observation that the Sikkimese Nepali community are immigrants.
In a letter to chief minister Prem Singh Tamang, Sharma said that the “state government has not taken the sentiments of Sikkimese people seriously”.
“I feel it is not necessary to remain in the state cabinet further,” he said and urged Tamang to accept his resignation letter with immediate effect.
It is not immediately known whether the resignation has been accepted.
The Supreme Court’s observation on January 13 that the Sikkimese Nepali community was an immigrant one while allowing income tax exemption to all old settlers cutting across ethnic lines has riled the state politics causing massive disaffection in all sections of civil society cutting across the party lines.
The apex court made the observation while delivering its verdict on a petition filed by the Association of Old Settlers of Sikkim demanding exemption of income tax for those who had settled in the state before its merger with India on April 26, 1975.
Even the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) took out a peace march in protest against the apex court’s observations. Chief minister Tamang tried to allay the sentiments of the angry locals by assuring that the state government will soon file a review petition in the apex court.
The health minister could not be contacted for details of his resignation despite repeated efforts.