The Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) members Dawa, Tenzing and Ongchuk Lepcha, who completed 21 days of the resumed indefinite hunger strike in protest of implementation of hydel projects in Dzongu were put on Ryle's tube(nasal feed) this morning after doctors attending to them diagnosed their condition as unstable.
Dawa Lepcha, the ACT General Secretary, and Tenzing Lepcha had been admitted at STNM hospital on 16th March while 19 year old Ongchuk Lepcha was admitted on 14th March.
Doctors here inform that they detected kitons in their urine during the last check, while sugar levels in their blood and urine was found to be higher than normal. They are also said to be suffering from kidney and liver complications and further prolongation of the fast could cause complications which could lead to organ failure. Since they refused to injest food orally, the Ryle's Tube is the only option.
"We are still waiting and will not quit. We shall go till the end and will die if required for Dzongu if we are not heard. The way the government is not paying any heed means that they do not care for us or for the beleifs and sentiments attached to the land. Thus far, no Central or State Government official has come to us with anything. We shall not be deterred by this and will stand for our beleifs until there is life left in us," stressed Dawa Lepcha while speaking from his hospital bed today.
It may also be mentioned here that ACT-led Protests against the hydel projects in Dzongu has completed 369 days of relay hunger strike at BL House today. The protest had gained momentum last June when the indefinite hunger strike was launched and which had led to talks between the protestors and the state government representatives. Subsequently, a Review Committee for the hydel projects had also been formed which however, was boycotted by ACT later on the grounds that they did not have adequate representation in it.
Dawa and Tenzing Lepcha had gone on an indefinite hunger strike for a record 63 days when the hunger strike began and had called it off on the public appeal of the Chief Minister.
Earlier this month, Tashi Namgyal Lepcha from Upper Dzongu who had completed 17 days into the recent hunger strike was asked to withdraw on 28th March in consideration of his failing health.
"Even, when he was put on oxygen, he refused to eat anything. He was adamant, ready to die, but we convinced him to end his hunger strike. He is still adamant and wants to return", informed Dawa, whose own condition is fast worsening and was straining to be able to speak.
"We understand Tashi's sentiments but his life is important to us and Dzongu, but here i want to say that for us, we shall only stop if we receive something in black and white," he said.
While still focusing on ACT's intent to 'empty Dzongu into BL House', Dawa informed that more and more supporters were joining the protest and yesterday, a monk from Chawang, in Kabi-Tingda, had also joined the indefinite hunger strike, while Samten from Upper Dzongu has been on the hunger strike for the past seven days.
"Even people from outside Dzongu are realising the importance of this cause and are joining us. I also want to say that we are in the process of bringing the entire state together. About mass rallies and protest 'dharnas', these shall be conducted when the time comes," said Dawa.
Responding to the Chief Minister's Budget Session 2008 address recently, where he had mentioned that there shall be only one project in Dzongu, i.e Panan, Dawa stated, "We still have not received this in writing, which we should have. If the Chief Minister has put this in record, then we should be given a document in writing. Till now there has been no confirmation communicated to us in this regard by the government."
source: Sikkim Now!