February 2, 2009 1:36:25 am
Government says its considering their demands,Morcha wont call off hunger strike
The condition of several of the 17 supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha,who went on a fast-unto-death in front of the Garubathan police station on January 29,has turned criticial,said senior Morcha leaders on Sunday.
Meanwhile,the state government,through the Darjeeling district administration,has appealed to the Morcha to withdraw the hunger-strike saying their demands are being considered.
The protesters are from the Janmukti Secondary Teachers Organisation. As you can see,people from all walks of life are willing to go to any length to make Gorkhaland a reality. Their condition is critical as they have not even had water,but at the moment we are not considering withdrawing the fast-unto-death, Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said.
Among those on fast,six are tribals. All are members of different frontal organisations of the GJM,which has taken the name of the Janmukti-Adivasi Morcha in the Dooars. The outfit has drawn up a list of six demands that the government has to fulfill before the hunger-strike is withdrawn.
We want all the tea gardens which are closed in the Dooars and Terai to be open immediately. The life and property of our supporters must be protected. The Janmukti-Adivasi Morcha must be allowed to hold its political programme in the Dooars. Cases against our supporters must be withdrawn and the list of 14 leaders whose names we had submitted to the chief minister for attacking our supporters in the Dooars must be arrested, said Giri.
When contacted,Darjeeling district magistrate Surendra Gupta said he was waiting for the report of the doctors who have examined those on the hunger strike in Garubathan.
We have not taken any decision to intervene in the situation. If people go without food and water for four days,it is natural that their health would take a turn for the worse. On our part,I have conveyed the state governments message that five of their demands are being considered seriously. Their demand that they be allowed to carry out rallies in the Dooars would be considered once the situation there becomes normal. As per my knowledge,the Jalpaiguri DM has sent a report on the situation to the state government, Gupta said.
He added that the demands for compensation and withdrawal of cases calls for investigation and procedural collection of information. All this takes time. We have told them this as well, Gupta said.
The Morcha had asked the residents of the Hills to stop paying taxes to the state government as part of its non-cooperation movement since April 1 last year. In September,the Morcha directed residents to clear the electricity bills for three months starting from October after a request from the chief minister.
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