Bhaichung Bhutia-led Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) and Sikkim unit of Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) on August 23rd, 2019 strongly objected to the Union Home Ministry’s decision to allow expeditions to Mount Kanchenjunga. The Mount Kanchenjunga is among 137 mountain peaks, which have been opened up for expeditions.
“The circular in question is surprising because the Govt. of Sikkim had banned climbing of these peaks on religious grounds in 2001, based on the religious faith, and demand of the Sikkimese people. Despite such a ban, this new notification comes across as a blatant disregard to the will of the common people who had wanted the ban, as well as an imposition by the central government in contravention of peoples wishes,” said Biraj Adhikari, spokesperson of HSP.
Adhikari added, “We demand the Sikkim Government to immediately apprise the Centre and have the offending circular cancelled immediately as none of the Sikkimese people were consulted before it was issued.”
Since decades the Sikkimese have been worshipping the mountains and declare them as gods who they think should remain untouched. The Kanchenjunga is considered to be their “guardian deity”. They also observe a one-day festival named ‘Pang Lhabsol’ which is observed in the state for the protection of the people here.
On the other hand, the VHP called an emergency meeting to discuss the circular issued by the Centre. “The order is an insult to Hindu-Buddhist religious sects of the state as they consider it as the guardian deity of Sikkim since time immemorial”, said CP Giri, Sikkim unit president, VHP.
“The VHP feels that the move is an attack on the age-old tradition of Sikkim’s culture and traditions as it will make way for religious conversion easy which is rampant in Sikkim,” added Giri while urging the Centre to reconsider the order.
The mountain peaks open for trekking and mountaineering in Sikkim are: Forked Peak-6108 m, Gocha Peak-6118 m, Jopono-5936 m, Kabru North-7338 m, Kabru South-7317 m, Kanru Dome-6640 m and Kanchenjunga-8598 m respectively.
Photo: Prakash Adhikari