Sunandra K. Datta-Ray, Smash and grab: Annexation of Sikkim (New Delhi: Vikash, 1984)

Dr Bipin Adhikari

This is an oustanding work on the story of illegal annexation of the Kingdom of Sikkim by India. It explains how in 1973 anti-royalty riots in front of the palace led to a formal request for protection from India, and the Indian government appointed a Chief administrator, Mr. B. S. Das, who effectively wrested control of the country away from the the King (Chogyal) of Sikkim.

The book deals with the frosty relations between the Chogyal and the elected Kazi (Prime Minister) Lhendup Dorji, acting for India. Later, Indian reserve police were moved in and the streets of Gangtok were taken in control, the borders were closed and Sikkim was taken over.

The history came to a head in 1975, when the Kazi appealed to the Indian parliament for representation and change of status to statehood. On April 14, 1975, a referendum was held, in which Sikkim voted to merge with the union of India. Sikkim became the 22nd Indian State on April 26, 1975. On May 16, 1975, Sikkim officially became a state of the Indian Union and Lhendup Dorji, became the state chief minister. The book is based on the author's personal friendships with the King of Sikkim and Indian decision makers.

The readers should note the following historical quotation of B. P. Koirala:

"I think you know that there was no referendum in Sikkim either to decide its international status or for any other purpose."

(The Weekly Mirror, Kathmandu , 20 July 1979)

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