The indefinite hunger strike by three members of Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) entered the third day today.
Of the three who began the fast on Wednesday, one person was replaced today because of ill-health. Karma Tshering Lepcha, a forum member, today joined Dawa T. Lepcha and Tenzing Gyatso in the fast. He replaced Ongdup Lepcha who had started the hunger strike despite his illness.
The ACT members are demanding that all hydel power projects at Dzongu in North Sikkim be scrapped. Dzongu is a protected area for Lepchas, the indigenous inhabitants of Sikkim, protected under Article 371 (f) of the Constitution.
Monks and villagers from Dzongu today came to B.L. House on Sonam Gyatso Marg here to express their solidarity. Some of them also joined the relay hunger strike that is going on simultaneously. The fasting trio was honoured with khadas (silk garlands) and candles.
The BJP state unit led by its president H.R. Pradhan, Congress president Nar Bahadur Bhandari and AICC member T. Lachungpa were among those who called on the protesters. The political secretary to the chief minister K.T. Gyaltsen visited the protesters to initiate a dialogue and proposed a meeting at the Tashiling secretariat tomorrow. ACT members, however, refused the offer as no concrete decision could be taken in the absence of Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling, who is not here at the moment.