Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The two stories of 1975 Sikkim annexation

 Extracted from Major General (retd) Ashok K Mehta' The truth about Sikkim

In 1975, there was yet another takeover, this time organised by the itinerant immigrants from Nepal. On April 9, in a swift and sudden military operation that left many mental scars among the Bhutias especially, the Indian Army deployed on Nathu La and the watershed in Sikkim since 1963 took over the Chogyal's palace by disarming the Royal Sikkim Guards, ironically officered by the Indian Army, and seizing the royal armoury.
The Chogyal was drinking his favourite Remy Martin when the commandant of the Royal Sikkim Guards, Lt Col K S Gurung, announced the surrender.
Mr John Lall and Sunanda K Datta Ray have written about 1975, but two stories can be added. First, that the officer leading the assault on the palace and the major defending the Chogyal were the Jagota brothers, one from the Jat Regiment and the other from the Gurkha Regiment. The two had orders to act in the best traditions of the Indian Army.
The second episode is about how the Chogyal, on learning that the Sikkimese guard at the main gate had been killed, wore his Indian Army uniform --- he was honorary colonel of the 8 Gurkhas, walked to the palace gates, and saluted the slain soldier.