Health worry over five on fast

The Telegraph

Kalimpong, Feb. 2: The condition of five of the 22 Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters on hunger strike in Gorubathan has become serious, but the party has ruled out calling off the agitation till all its demands are met.

Seventeen party supporters have been on an indefinite fast since January 29 to exert pressure on the state government for permission to carry out its Dooars Chalo campaign. Five Adivasi supporters of the Morcha joined the fast yesterday.

Morcha spokesperson Binay Tamang claimed that the government had indicated its willingness to meet all the demands of the party, barring the one on the reopening of the closed tea gardens.

“However, we cannot abandon the matter of the 13 closed tea gardens, even though two of them do not fall in Gorkhaland,” Tamang said. Even though the party was concerned over the deteriorating health of its fasting supporters, it would call off the strike only if the authorities in Writers’ Buildings — and not any district-level official — gave a written assurance to meet the demands.

The district magistrate of Jalpaiguri, Vandana Yadav, who Tamang said was the bearer of the message, however, denied speaking to the Morcha. “I have neither received any such instructions (from the government) nor spoken to them (Morcha),” she told The Telegraph.

On the health condition of the Morcha supporters, D. Biswas, the block medical office of health, said three of them in particular needed urgent medical attention. “They are suffering from renal failure. Despite our requests, they are not willing to accept any medical assistance.”

In Calcutta, chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti said the government was closely monitoring the hunger strike by the Morcha. “Doctors have been asked to examine the health of those who have been on hunger strike.” The chief minister had spoken to the Morcha leaders for resolving the stalemate, he added.

Today, a five-member Morcha team comprising general secretary Roshan Giri, central committee member Harka Bahadur Chhetri and three Adivasi supporters reached Ranchi to hold talks with the All India Adivasi Vikash Parishad.

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