“Ladies and gentlemen, before the headline makes you uneasy, hold onto your horses. There is no harm in asking a question. Someone put this question to me: Is Sikkim Land of Protest or Protected? I am just forwarding the reader some probable answers and thoughts.
One small hope is that there will be no more experiments. That democracy will truly be given a chance. What lessons have been learned regarding the danger of ‘fifth-generation warfare’, which now threatens the very edifice of the state? What had started with dissident activists being dubbed as traitors has now led to state institutions being maligned as such. Unchecked, this can plunge Sikkim into a sad state of affairs, the signs of which are rearing their ugly protest head at our schools and universities, DAC, and even hospitals.
No good has come of this experiment when activities from SPYF protested against the government regarding the improvement of healthcare. Position as well as Opposition has done nothing but mislead the youth of Sikkim and several adults by giving different opinions to the press. Our state, Sikkim respects democracies where citizens and elected politicians should listen to each other like the recent case of land grabbing by Pharma Company in Jorethang. Instead, the opposition used him for their sake of political attention.
SKM is welcome to participate as a democratic party but it’s clearly not interested in the voice of the citizen. They were always there for people who used to participate in protests before 2019 if it was a pharma company worker or teacher or SYPF or any Youth. When SYPF marched in DC court in 2019 it was SKM (Opposition then) who went there to support them in no time are seen nowhere now. SDF was ruling then used to hide like it’s none of their business SKM is doing the same today. Nothingness some officials prefer to threaten activities instead. So what now?
One would like to empathise with them if the politicians didn’t make it so hard. Instead of acknowledging that Forest ministers couldn’t deliver Justice when land protected by 371F is being grabbed or that it isn’t easy for politicians to stay on the same page as the establishment beyond a few years due to fear of giant companies like pharma, they will go on a rampage about how people don’t trust activities because of the disappearance of former activities Laten Sherpa who used to do same before 2019 can no longer be seen nowadays?
Given our history of the state which is protected by 371F, it may be difficult to conclude that the establishment has become apolitical. But one can definitely say this — what a breath of fresh air this press conference was compared to those held by John Rai in beginning and later he was used for political opportunity.
The short answer is — that our new politician failed spectacularly. There is no other logical explanation for the establishment’s change of heart, and sudden desire to go neutral. The trouble is, while those in high offices realized that the old protesting experiment hadn’t worked and the course had to be corrected, those lower down the rungs were slow to get the memo. Tried having a conversation with 2018 & 2022 activities lately?
And we have the same faces in terms of board management that we’ve had for the last two decades or so. How barren are Sikkim’s intellectual reserves!
The Protest circle, though, does not move endlessly. At some point, it will stop. But then let us also try to figure out what we have, and where (and how) are we headed?