The Delhi government on Saturday suspended a senior officer over an advertisement that erroneously referred to Sikkim as a separate country.
In the advertisement for recruitment of volunteers for the Civil Defence Corps, which appeared in newspapers on Saturday, the eligibility criteria said a “Citizen of India or a subject of Sikkim or of Bhutan or of Nepal and a resident of Delhi” can apply for the post. People under monarchies are usually referred to as subjects.
Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal confirmed the suspension order on Saturday evening. “A senior officer of Directorate of Civil Defence (HQ) has been suspended with immediate effect for publishing an advertisement which disrespects the territorial integrity of India by making incorrect reference to Sikkim on the same lines as some neighbouring countries,” he tweeted. Baijal also said that there is “zero tolerance for such gross misconduct”.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also issued a clarification in the matter. “Sikkim is an integral part of India,” he tweeted. “Such errors also cannot be tolerated. Advertisement has been withdrawn and action taken against the officer concerned.”
The action was taken after the Sikkim government called the advertisement “immensely hurtful” and “offensive”. In a letter to Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev, his Sikkim counterpart SC Gupta called for an immediate withdrawal of the advertisement. “This is immensely hurtful to the people of Sikkim, who take pride in being the citizens of our great country,” Gupta added.
Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang also objected to the wording in the advertisement. “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 the lover of democracy and amalgamated with the national ethos and purity of nationhood engraved in their heart.”
He further said that the ignorance is “unpardonable” and demanded an “unconditional apology” to the people of Sikkim.
Delhi’s Bharatiya Janata Party chief Manoj Tiwari accused Kejriwal of “speaking the language of China” through the advertisement, according to The Hindu. “Kejriwal is losing his mental balance...Occupying a constitutional post, he is saying Sikkim is a different country,” he added. “Does the Delhi government not remember that Sikkim is also an integral state of India? How can he be so ignorant?”