Sikkim activist Keshav Sapkota attacked before protest against tax exemption for old settlers

The incident sparked violence in Singtam and prompted authorities to ban large gatherings


An activist was attacked while protesting the income tax exemption for old settlers in Sikkim. The incident sparked violence in Singtam and prompted authorities to ban large gatherings.

The Joint Action Council (JAC) is spearheading the protests. Their secretary general, Keshav Sapkota, was attacked ahead of a rally called by JAC today in Singtam.

Three people were arrested.

The opposition parties have criticized the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) for allegedly “using violence” against its rivals and “distorting” the political situation in the border state.

The Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), the Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) and the BJP, an ally of the SKM government, skinned the attack on the JAC member.

The JAC has protested the extension of Sikkim’s conditions to make way for an income tax exemption for Sikkim’s ancient settlers. The expansion comes in the latest finance law passed in the Lok Sabha, along with the Supreme Court’s Jan. 13 ruling in a case on tax exemptions for old settlers.

Before the planned protest, Mr Sapkota was attacked by a group of people. He was taken to a local hospital with nose and head injuries. He was later transferred to the Central Referral Hospital in Gangtok.

The JAC has spoken out against extending the tax exemption in recent months. They had called a protest rally uniting the people of Sikkim against the tax extension and demanding that the term “Sikkimese” be defined according to the old laws under Article 371F.

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