Andaman MP ends hunger strike after Home Minister's assurance

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Port Blair, Feb 23 (UNI) Lone MP of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Manoranjan Bhakta today ended his five-day hunger strike after the Union Home Ministry and local administration agreed to comply with all of his 112 demands.

Official sources said Minister of State for Home Affairs Sriprakash Jaiswal, who arrived here today, met the agitating congress MP and assured him that the Centre and Union Home Ministry would address all his demands.

Earlier, following medical reports of ''critical health condition'' of the fasting MP, Chief Secretary of the Andaman and Nicobar Administration Chering Targey met Mr Bhakta and accepted most of his demands, which are presently under the purview of the local administration.

The 66-year-old MP, who had started the hunger strike on February 19, ended his fast this afternoon after taking mango juice offered by Mr Jaiswal.

Treasurer of the All India Congress Committee Moti Lal Vora also accompanied Mr Jaiswal and congratulated Mr Bhakta for his successful satyagraha.

Out of the 112 demands relating to various problems faced by the islanders, the major issues included setting up of Assembly for these remote islands and handing over the Andaman Trunk Road back to the Andaman PWD from the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

''Mr Bhakta has been successful in highlighting the local problems at the national level, which will be considered very seriously by the Centre,'' the Minister of State assured.

Regarding setting up of Assembly, the minister said considering the huge pressure from the general public, the Centre will take a decision soon.

''We are considering the matter seriously but we cannot say whether the matter will be placed in this Cabinet meeting as I am not the Prime Minister to call Cabinet meeting,'' Mr Jaiswal told UNI.

Soon after breaking of the fast, the MP was taken to the G B Pant Government Hospital here for monitoring his health condition.

UNI SKR DPM DS AS1406

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