March 2, 2016 3:18:46 am
SIKH ACTIVIST Surat Singh Khalsa, whose ‘hunger’ strike entered its 411th day Tuesday, said he would consider ending his fast if the government made arrangements for the release of militants Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar and Gurdeep Singh Khaira, both convicts in bomb blast cases.
The 82-year-old activist, who has been on a fast since January 16, 2015, also wrote to the Ludhiana deputy commissioner claiming he was being illegally detained at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) in Ludhiana, where he has been admitted since December 10. Khalsa has also said if “he faints or his medical condition deteriorates, no one should be allowed to touch his body”.
“If I faint or any other medical complication develops, I should not be given any life support system. I should also not be shifted to the ICU. If someone touches me without my permission, it should be considered as a criminal act,” Khalsa’s letter reads.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Ravi Inderjit Gogi, Khalsa’s son, claimed “his father’s condition was deteriorating” but added until Bhullar and Khaira, a convict in the Bidar bomb blast (Karnataka), are released, the protest will not end. Since Khalsa’s protest, Sikh militants including Waryam Singh, Baaz Singh, Makhan Singh and Hardeep Singh have already been released from jails. “At least two more Sikh prisoners, preferably Bhullar and Khaira, should be released from the jail at the earliest and then Bapuji might think of ending the protest. His condition is deteriorating as force feeding has stopped and he is only taking a few drops of water,” Gogi said.
The Ludhiana civil surgeon Dr Renu Chhatwal, meanwhile, said Khalsa’s condition was stable. Dr Chhatwal along with district deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat visited the fasting activist on Tuesday.
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“Khalsa needs medical supervision and thus he will not be shifted from the hospital as of now,” DC Bhagat said.
Over the past year, Khalsa has been moved in and out of hospital multiple times by the district administration. While his family claims his “condition has been deteriorating”, the civil surgeon said Khalsa continues to be in a “stable condition” with all his vital organs functioning properly.
Earlier, Education Minister and SAD spokesperson Daljeet Singh Cheema met Khalsa on December 17 and a fresh list of Sikh prisoners was submitted to him by Sangharsh Committee members, following which Khalsa drank water.
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