Tuesday 10 February 2009
ACT Supporters runs amok at panan dam site on its 600th relay hunger strike day, arrested members threaten indefinite hunger strike in police lockup
( Dzongu on boil, - ACT members run amok in Panan Dam site)
ACT runs amok at Panan dam site on its 600th relay hunger strike day
Gangtok, February 7: Frustrated local youths from Dzongu under the banner of Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) demolished a temporary shed and other assets of Panan hydel power project employees today at Rongyong in Dzongu, North Sikkim as the relay hunger strike of the anti-hydel project body entered its 600th day.
Other project related items were also vandalized.
Around 50 youths including several ladies waving ACT flags and ‘anti-hydel’ banners had taken out a rally in the Dzongu area on the 600th day of its ongoing relay hunger strike here at BL house.
The ACT rally reached Rongyong dam site of the proposed 280 MW Panan hydel power project near Lingzya when some of its members tore apart the provisional shelter of the project labourers. The labourers were also told to leave the site as they had ‘illegally’ stayed back, it is informed.
Today’s incident marks the growing unrest and frustrations among the ACT youths over the inaction from the government side over their agitation against the controversial Panan project.
source :sikkim express
Forty one ACT members in police custody
Himagiri files damages worth Rs. 50 lakhs, ACT counters developers engaging in illegal activities
MANGAN, February 8: Forty one members of Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) from Dzongu have been arrested by North Sikkim police on charges of arson and rioting at the project damsite of the controversial Panan hydel power project.
The arrests were made on the complaint of Himagiri hydroengery private limited, project developers of the 280 MW Panan hydel project. There are 8 ladies among the arrested lot.
The district administration informed that the arrests were made on the complaint since the accused persons vandalized the project site, destroyed machinery and also tried to set fire, destroy the magazine stores containing explosives and stole explosives from the site after criminal trespass. The incident took place at the project dam site at Lingzya in Upper Dzongu yesterday on the occasion of the 600th day of the relay hunger strike by ACT going at BL house in Gangtok.
According to the project developers, more than 50 lakhs worth equipments have been destroyed by ACT supporters. The project developers are also claiming the missing of some explosive items – 298 boxes of electronic detonators, 88.75 kgs of gelatin and 1000 m of cordex wire from the spot.
Following the complaint, a team led by Mangan police station PI Rajesh Tamang arrested 43 ACT members. Two were released later as they were minors.
The arrested includes ACT general secretary Dawa Lepcha, Tenzing Lepcha, Sangha of Dzongu president Ligden Lama and Concerned Lepchas of Sikkim president Gyatso Lepcha.
The ACT members have been charged under 6 different sections 143 of the IPC for being members of unlawful assembly and section 147 for rioting, 149 for offence committed by unlawful assembly, 436 for arson and fire mischief, 379 for theft of explosives and 447 criminal trespasses.
Police said that ACT had no permission to stage the rally and a huge ACT group had gathered at Lingdong, Upper Dzongu and approached Lingzya where the incident occurred as they entered the dam site and engaged in unlawful activity.
The arrested persons were produced before the court of the district magistrate North and they were remanded to three days police custody for investigations. ‘Investigations are still on’, police said.
On the other hand, ACT members accused the project developers of engaging in illegal works after the land acquisition terms have elapsed. The Panan area is an isolated area and to store explosives in these areas are strictly prohibited, they said.
Meanwhile, ACT in a press statement has condemned the ‘arbitrary arrests of innocent Lepchas from Dzongu’ and accused the police of restoring to third degree interrogation methods.
In the press statement released by ACT chief coordinator Tseten Lepcha, the body has demanded ‘immediate and unconditional release’ of its members.
ACT also demanded an investigation into the links between the promoters of Panan hydel power project, their primary promoters the Nagarjuna Group and the Satyam (Maytas) scam. We have learnt of a related connection and that Satyam and Maytas are part of the funding agencies, ACT maintained.
ACT also reiterated its demand for scrapping of all mega hydel power projects in the Lepcha reserve of Dzongu.
Meanwhile, Jana Yuva Shakti Sikkim (JYSS) party president Lalit Sharma met the ACT members at the police station here.
Later speaking to media, Mr. Sharma supported ACT and endorsed the body. Whatever they have done yesterday it were the right steps taken for the safeguard of Dzongu, an area protected under Article 371 F. This is due to careless attitude of the State government otherwise this situation would have not come, he said.
Arrested ACT members threaten hunger strike inside lock up
( Meal time for the arrested 41 at Mangan Thana - courtesy Sikkim Now!)
GANGTOK, February 9: Maintaining their tempo against the proposed mega power projects in Dzongu, the arrested members of Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) who are presently arrested at Mangan police station have threatened to state a hunger strike inside the lock up.
The hunger strike has been threatened by ACT members as a part of their ongoing protests, their ‘arbitrary arrests’ and use of ‘third degree measures’ by Mangan police during interrogations and investigations.
ACT is not new to hunger strikes as many of them inside the lock up had participated in the relay hunger strike which reached its 602nd day today at BL House in Gangtok.
ACT general secretary Dawa Lepcha and member Tenzing Lepcha have already sat on two indefinite hunger strikes in two phases since the protest movement began at Gangtok from BL House. In the first phase, the duo had sat on an indefinite hunger strike for 63 days while it was 95 straight days in the second phase.
And this time, it could be worse.
ACT sources from Mangan informed SIKKIM EXPRESS that the arrested members have desired to stage a hunger strike inside the lock up not just for their arbitrary arrests and alleged third degree measures but also to maintain their ongoing protests.
However, the arrested members of ACT have been advised to keep it on hold at the moment by the senior members.
But, the arrested members could begin the strike if there were more extension of their police remand which ends tomorrow or if they are send to the judicial custody at the State Jail at Rongyek in Gangtok.
“It depends but the hunger strike will definitely take place if the arrested ACT members are sent to jail. The hunger strike will take place inside the jail premises”, said one senior ACT member.
It may be recalled that DM (North) TN Kazi had remanded the 41 arrested members of ACT to 3 day police remand.
Meanwhile, ACT has also not decided to apply for any bail application for the arrested members. The ‘obvious’ reasons have not been revealed.
ACT’s legal counsel Hem Lal Bhandari confirmed that no bail applications have been filed so far.
ACT further claimed that some of its arrested members were subjected to third degree measures during interrogations and a petition will be filed before the Human Rights Commission.
The Sikkim Himali Rajya Parishad (SHRP) president Dr AD Subba had also today accused the police of adopting ‘third degree’ measures against some of the arrested ACT members.
However, the North Sikkim police has categorically stated to media that no third degree measures were adopted and termed the allegations as ‘baseless’. The allegations of third degree measures have been dismissed by the police.
source: Sikkim Express
Posted by weepingsikkim