Lepcha rally in Kalimpong draws thousands

Statesman News Service

GANGTOK, Oct. 7: Over 5,000 people took part in a mass rally organised by members of the Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association at Kalimpong yesterday to protest against upcoming hydroelectric power projects at Dzongu, a Lepcha reserve in North Sikkim.
People from Nepali, Bhutia and Lepcha communities ad members of various social organisations took part in the rally that started from 10th Mile Fatak and culminated at Damber Chowk, a stretch of five kilometre.
“We will do whatever we can to stop setting up of hydel power projects at Dzongu,” said Mr Lyangsong Tamsang, president of ILTA.
The Lepchas from Kailmpong and Darjeeling have already started hunger-strike to express their solidarity with members of the Affetted Citizens of Teesta who have launched a tirade against the Sikkim government over the issue. The relay hunger-strike of the Lepchas has completed 108 days in Sikkim, 47 days in Kalimpong and 37 days in Darjeeling.
Mr Dilip Kumar Pradhan, a member of Seva Kalyan Samiti, said: “Not only Lepchas, all people should oppose the Sikkim government’s bid to disturb the sanctity of Dzongu.” Those who participated in the rally included members of the Government Pensioners’ Association, Seva Kalyan Samiti, All India Nepali Scheduled Caste Association, Kalimpong, Darjeeling Hill Muslim Association and Milanee Club.

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