Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Gangtok: The Chief Coordinator Tseten Lepcha of ACT said today that their struggle would continue undiminished, despite the call off of their 63 days old indefinite hunger strike led by Dawa Lepcha & Tenzing Lepcha today. The strike, in which 2 men starved themselves till today in support of a demand that state government review or altogether stop setting up of hydel electric projects in Dzongu, the religious and spiritual home of lepchas in north Sikkim. The two month long hunger strike has left its footprints on history of Sikkim as it was the longest hunger strike ever taken by anyone for any cause.

Striking Lepcha duo have been forced to end their 63rd-days strike without a settlement after an emergency meeting of ACT,CLOS and other associated organisations felt that there is need to abort their mission in view of medical and health conditions of two young men who were already made to go through a spirited struggle at the risk of their own lives despite medical urgency which on and off took them to emergency wards of STNM hospital as well as nasal feeding for infusing 1000 calories a day to keep control on their already deteriorating health conditions .The duo has to undergo drop in their blood pressures,headache,vomiting,nausea,body ache etc. often during two month long period in which they refused to eat orally.Their health has worsened steadily since both began an indefinite hunger strike mid-June in protest against what they felt was encroachment upon their home Dzongu by hydel developers of Panan Project.

No doubt,they were able to highlight and focus the attention of many through out the world on the issue of Dzongu,Teesta and their other environmental concerns .Government of Sikkim under leadership of Dr.Chamling also held six rounds of dialogue until it was deadlocked .There was a light in dark atmosphere when Chief Minister directed that sanctity of Dzongu should be maintained at all costs and also an invitation to Dawa Lepcha and Tenzing Lepcha for one to one talk to sort out the problem and address their concerns on occasion of Tendong LhoRum Faat by Dr.Chamling and who again on day before yesterday at NewDelhi reissued an appeal to hunger strikers to call of their protests and create congenial atmosphere for talks. No doubt, these appeals also contributed in making decision of discontinuing indefinite hunger-strike . Meanwhile, issue also got wrapped in political ball but somehow common sense prevailed on ACT to keep their feet on earth and thus resisted from any reactionary moves when such occasions arised in two months.

State Government also once almost invoked emergency intervention powers to break hunger strike by force but SDF leadership avoided it despite immense pressure that this indefinite hunger strike had built upon it. A move that as time proved helped in avoiding creating further complications and halting confidence building despite heavy and tensed atmosphere.Chief Minister also took many confidence building measures towards Dzongu and lepcha communities during this period to create a friendly and positive atmosphere.
The duo who embarked on a arduous 63-days hunger strike to protest for a cause they felt emotionally about were real news makers from Sikkim as they successfully highlighted through media their protests and Spiritual guidance provided by all concerned must have been able to help them reconsider and call off their hunger strike.“They knew this was not going to be easy and it’s not, but quitting now is an option that surely would open many doors to move forward.

Meanwhile, ACT has decided to continue with relay hunger strike at BL House at it looks forward to enter a dialogue with authorities and also hoping for a promised personal intervention of Chief Minister to find an amicable solution.
(http://sikkimnews.blogspot.com wish them very best and speedy recovery and Congratulate them for a decision that could not have been easy!!)