Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sikkim the last state to join India

In 1947, a referendum rejected Sikkim's joining the Indian Union and the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru agreed to a special protectorate(A state or territory partly controlled by a stronger state but autonomous in internal affairs; protectorates are established by treaty) status for Sikkim. Sikkim was to be a suzerainty of India, in which India controlled its external affairs, defense, diplomacy and communication. In 1955 a state council was established to set up constitutional government for the Chogyal. When Sikkim National Congress demanded fresh elections and greater representations for Nepalese, riots began. Riots in front of the palace in 1973 led to a formal request for protection from India. The Kazi (Prime Minister of Sikkim) appealed to the Indian Parliament to change the status if Sikkim from suzerainty to a State in 1975.

In April, the Indian Army moved into Sikkim and disarmed the Palace Guards and seized the City of Gangtok. A referendum was held in which 97.5% of the people voted to join the Indian Union. A few weeks later on May 16, 1975, Sikkim officially became the 22nd state of the Indian Union and the Chogyal's monarchy rule was abolished

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