Gorkhaland supporters’ condition critical as hunger strike enters 18th day
Twelve men have been on hunger strike since July 21, demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland. doctors say their kidneys have been affected and they need immediate medical attention.cities Updated: Aug 07, 2017 18:50 IST
The condition of 12 men sitting on hunger strike for 18 days in support of a separate state of Gorkhaland is deteriorating, doctors have warned.
The renewed stir for carving a separate state out of West Bengal’s northern hills since mid-June has hit normal life. Schools, businesses and offices have now been shut for 54 days in response to indefinite strike called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). Clashes between the GJM supporters and security forces have left eight civilians dead.
“The condition of those staging fast is not good but stable. They are not eating, drinking anything and are refusing medical aid,” district magistrate of Darjeeling Joyoshi Dasgupta said on Monday .
The administration would take the men, who are fasting in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik towns, to hospitals if needed, she said but the GJM supporters are guarding them with khukuris, the traditional Gorkha knives.
Teams of doctors and senior officials visit the men regularly who have refused food since July 21.
“Their condition is critical since Saturday. Urine output is nil for the last three days, they are suffering muscle cramps,” Kalimpong municipal health officer Dr Sangay Dorjee Zimba said on Monday. Their kidneys had been affected and they needed immediate medical attention, he said.
The men were refusing medical help, saying the Centre should first take some concrete steps towards Gorkhaland, a doctor attending on the strikers in Darjeeling said on condition of anonymity.
Dasgupta said doctors had advised them to take medicines.
“I have committed myself to the cause of Gorkhaland and will not take medicine unless the Centre pledges to initiate something positive for Gorkhaland,” said 42-year-old Raju Biswakarma, who is fasting in Kalimpong. A father of two, Biswakarma is an artisan.
In Mirik, 38-year-old Deep Khawas said, “Gorkhaland is dearer than my life. The fast until death is my small contribution towards the separate state of Gorkhaland.”
Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha (GJYM) president Prakash Gurung said the Centre’s silence was deafening. “It could be that the Centre and the state want to foil our democratic and peaceful movement and force us to take a different path,” Gurung said. The GJYM is the youth wing of the GJM.