To quell hunger strike, Mamata govt to slap suicide, murder charges against Gorkhaland supporters
Darjeeling, July 29: A total of 12 Gorkhaland supporters are on a hunger strike since July 21 in the hills of West Bengal, as a part of their demand for a separate state.
All the 12 agitators on fast belong to the youth wing of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which is spearheading the Gorkhaland agitation in Darjeeling and its neighbouring areas since June 8.
Out of the 12 people on fast, three each are staging hunger strike in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Mirik. The rest three are on a fast unto-death in Kalimpong. They are fasting to mount pressure on the Centre to launch a dialogue on Gorkhaland.
Sensing trouble that the agitators on hunger strike might face serious health issues, the Mamata Banerjee government in the state has asked protesters on fast to take medical aid.
The government further warned that those who prevented the hospitalisation of those who are fasting would be booked for abetment to suicide and murder.
Darjeeling district magistrate Joyoshi Das Gupta on Friday issued a notice in this regard to the protesters, reported The Telegraph.
Das Gupta had also issued notices to Darjeeling and Kurseong MLAs for their "personal intervention" to shift nine fasting Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha supporters to hospital.
"You are requested to kindly avail medical aid as will be advised by the medical officers. You are to inform us or persons around you in case you feel any weakness or dizziness..," reads the notice sent by Das Gupta to the agitators on fast at three places in Darjeeling district.
The notice adds, "All concerned may note as per Indian law, any person who directly or indirectly tries to prevent government authorities from providing medical assistance to persons on fast including removal to hospitals when required, may be liable for punishment for abetment to suicide and abetment to murder".
"You are requested to kindly monitor the health conditions of people on fast at Darjeeling, Kurseong and Mirik. Your personal intervention is requested to shift them to hospital...," reads the notice by the district magistrate to Darjeeling and Kalimpong legislators, Amar Singh Rai and Rohit Sharma.
The district administration has deputed a couple of medical officers in all the four venues where fast is on to keep a tab on the health of those on hunger strike. If the medical officers suggest the district administration that those on fast require medical aid then they would be immediately shifted to hospital.
Talking about the notices, Prakash Gurung, Yuva Morcha president, said: "They have started the indefinite hunger strike on their own will. If they need medical assistance, they can do so at their own will. But the manner in which the administration made some communications today is unfortunate. The movement will continue until our demand is achieved."
On Saturday, the indefinite bandh in the hills entered its 45th day. Due to the bandh, life has come to a standstill across Darjeeling and its suburbs. In the hills, schools, colleges, shops and several offices have remained closed for more than a month now.