Govt lets ACT deadline pass

Gangtok, July 27: Members of Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) continued their hunger strike as the government ultimatum ended at mid-day today.

In a letter to the ACT president yesterday, Sikkim chief secretary N. Chingapa had asked the protesters to withdraw their fast within 24 hours or face “action as per law”.

It was an intense day at B.L. House on Sonam Gyatso Marg — the site for the relay fast — where three monks and six others including three women continued their hunger strike. The site of the fast was surrounded by politicians cutting across party lines, journalists, intelligence personnel and ACT supporters, waiting for the “action” to take place. Two ACT members, Dawa T. Lepcha and Tenzing Lepcha, continued their fast for the 38th day today at Sir Thutob Namgyal Memorial Hospital.

Two minutes downhill from B.L. House, at Sadar police station, a platoon of Sikkim Armed Police stood prepared in combat fatigues and protection gear. Top district police officials had also assembled at the police station. However, the orders never came. No action was taken till late in the evening.

ACT members submitted a memorandum to Sikkim Governor V. Rama Rao in the afternoon, seeking his intervention. Following Chingapa’s ultimatum, Opposition leaders came together at Himalchuli here and passed a resolution for the formation of a joint action committee to “save democracy in Sikkim”.

In Kalimpong, GNLF branch president Dawa Pakhrin today appealed to the Sikkim government to ensure that the sanctity of Dzongu, which is considered holy by the Lepchas, is preserved.

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