GANGTOK: The Sikkim government on Saturday took exception to an advertisement of the Delhi government that clubbed the hill state with Nepal and Bhutan, saying it was immensely hurtful.
The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha-led government and Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang separately reacted to the 'Join Civil Defence as Volunteer' advertisement issued by the Directorate of Information and Publicity of the Delhi government in which Sikkim has been shown as a separate county like Nepal and Bhutan.
"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.
Gupta demanded an immediate withdrawal of the advertisement and issuance of a suitable communique to assuage the feelings of the people of Sikkim.
Chief Minister Tamang also condemned the advertisement and said it was "regrettable", "objectionable" and "harmful" to the federal structure of India.
"I am deeply hurt by an advertisement published by the Government of Delhi terming the people of Sikkim as different citizens equated with Nepal and Bhutan," he said in a Facebook post.
The people of Sikkim are emotionally integrated with the nation since 1975, Tamang said, adding he cannot think that such a mistake has been committed by a responsible government.
"The people of Sikkim are the lover of democracy and amalgamated with the national ethos and purity of nationhood engraved in their heart," the chief minister said.
Observing that the "ignorance" or "intentions" (behind the advertisement) were unpardonable, Tamang demanded an unconditional apology to the people of Sikkim by the Delhi government.
"I urge the Chief Minister of Delhi to give an unconditional apology to the people of Sikkim as the people are agitated with this type of mistakes from an accountable Government," he added.