Protesters force fed

Gangtok, July 31: Two members of Affected Citizens of Teesta, who have been fasting for 43 days, were today force fed at Sir Thutob Namgyal Memorial Hospital.

Dawa T. Lepcha and Tenzing Gyatso Lepcha were admitted there more than 15 days ago. Dr Namgyal T. Sherpa, a senior medical consultant, observed that since “both of them had very high level of ketone bodies” which could affect the kidneys and lead to “serious complications” any moment, the hospital decided to feed them with the Ryles tube.

The ACT members are on hunger strike to demand the immediate scrapping of all the mega hydel power projects in the Lepcha reserve of Dzongu in North Sikkim.

The Sikkim government, which had earlier issued an ultimatum to the protesters to withdraw the fast and yet remained silent after its expiry, today invited ACT members for another round of talks.

The opposition parties submitted a joint appeal to chief minister Pawan Chamling, urging that the state should give up its “adamant” stand and resolve the crisis.

Yesterday, the parties had called on Sikkim Governor V. Rama Rao and submitted a memorandum seeking his intervention.

ACT today thanked the Lepchas of Darjeeling hills for organising a peace rally yesterday to express solidarity. “We consider it a valiant effort by our brethren…to save Dzongu and the Lepchas,” the chief coordinator of ACT Tseten Lepcha said.

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