An activist was attacked while demonstrating against the income tax exemption granted to former settlers in Sikkim. The incident sparked violence in Singtam, prompting authorities to ban large gatherings.
The Joint Action Council (JAC) is spearheading the protests. Its general secretary, Keshav Sapkota, was attacked in Singtam ahead of the rally called by the JAC today.
Three people were arrested.
Opposition political parties have criticized the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) for allegedly “perpetrating violence” against its rivals and “tainting” the political situation in the border state.
The Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) and the BJP, an ally of the SKM government, flailed the attack on the JAC member.
The JAC protested the expansion of Sikkimese terms to make way for exemption from income tax for former settlers of Sikkim. The expansion occurred in the recent finance bill passed in the Lok Sabha with the Supreme Court’s verdict on January 13 in a case filed for tax exemption by former settlers.
Before the planned protest rally, Mr. Sapkota was attacked by a group of people. He was taken to a local hospital with nose and head injuries. He was then referred to the Gangtok Central Referral Hospital.
The JAC has been opposing the extension of tax exemptions for several months. They had called the protest rally uniting the people of Sikkim against tax expansion and demanding that the term ‘Sikkimais’ be defined in accordance with the old laws under Section 371F.
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