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‘Sikkim integral part of India’: Kejriwal tweets amid row over Delhi govt’s ‘incorrect’ ad

Objecting strongly, Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang had said he was "deeply hurt" by the advertisement "terming the people of Sikkim as different citizen equated with Nepal and Bhutan".

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 23, 2020 10:01:13 pm
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Hours after Sikkim took objection to a Delhi government advertisement erroneously referring the people of the state as “different citizens”, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday condemned the incident and said action has been taken against the officer concerned.

“Sikkim is an integral part of India. Such errors also cannot be tolerated. Advertisement has been withdrawn and action taken against the officer concerned,” Kejriwal tweeted amidst a political row over the ad.

The newspaper advertisement for recruitment of volunteers for Civil Defense corps mentioned under eligibility criteria “Citizen of India or a subject of Sikkim or of Bhutan or of Nepal and a resident of Delhi”.

Objecting strongly, Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang said he was “deeply hurt” by the advertisement “terming the people of Sikkim as different citizen equated with Nepal and Bhutan” and added that the “ignorance or intentions are unpardonable”.

“The people of Sikkim are emotionally integrated with the nation since 1975. Our people even cannot think of such a mistake by a responsible Government,” he said, demanding an “unconditional apology to the people of Sikkim” by the Chief Minister of Delhi.

“People are agitated with this type of mistakes from an accountable Government. The advertisement maligns the patriotism of the people of Sikkim,” he said.

“This is immensely hurtful to the people of Sikkim who take pride in being the citizens of our great country ever since it became the 22nd state of Indian Union on May 16, 1975,” Sikkim Chief Secretary S C Gupta said in a terse letter to his Delhi counterpart Vijay Kumar Dev.

Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal announced that the advertisement has been withdrawn and a senior officer of Directorate of Civil Defence (HQ) has been suspended with immediate effect for publishing the ad.

A political row has erupted over the incident, with opposition BJP and Congress slamming the AAP-led government over the ad.

“Zero tolerance for such gross misconduct,” Baijal tweeted on the advertisement which “disrespects the territorial integrity of India by making incorrect reference to Sikkim on the same lines as some neighbouring countries.”

A Delhi government functionary told PTI, “the official in-charge for the advertisement without applying his mind copy pasted the eligibility criterion from the Civil Defence Regulations, 1968 (amended in 1971 and 1973) issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, for recruitment to the Civil Defence Corps.”

Delhi BJP president Manoj slammed the government for the “serious lapse”. “The Delhi government advertisement shows Sikkim as a country. Can a state government be so ignorant that it shows a state of India as another country? Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should answer to the people for this serious lapse,” he said.

Delhi Congress president Anil Kumar also took a dig at the dispensation over the issue. “Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is so busy in publicity that he does not know if Sikkim is a part of India. Let me remind him, Sikkim is a part of India,” he tweeted.

The ruling AAP, however, hit out at the opposition by accusing the BJP and Congress leaders of doing “petty politics”, saying the advertisement followed MHA guidelines.

“At this difficult time when the Delhi government is trying to work together with other governments, the BJP and Congress leaders are busy in petty politics. The Delhi government clearly follows the MHA guidelines. AAP appeals to rise above the politics and work for the people,” the party tweeted.

Sikkim became an Indian state in 1975.

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