Nine on hunger strike in hospital – Khambu Rights Movement

Kalimpong, Feb. 21: Nine members of the Khambu Rights Movement, who were on an indefinite hunger strike at Tricone Park here, have been admitted to the Kalimpong subdivisional hospital in the past three days.

The hunger strike demanding that the organisation be allowed to form the Rai development board started on Wednesday with 14 participants. Since then, the number has gone up to 25, including the nine who have been hospitalised.

Manoj Rai, the KRM spokesman, said those admitted to the hospital were suffering from complications ranging from severe dehydration to low pulse rate. “All nine are refusing to eat and they have been given intravenous drops. We will continue our protest till our demand is fulfilled,” he said.

A doctor at the hospital, H.S. Das, said: “The condition of all those admitted is stable.”
The KRM was formed on January 16, 2013, and initially it functioned under the Kirati Khambu Rai Sanskriti Sansthan (KKRSS) to spearhead the demand for granting a Scheduled Tribe status to the Rais. The two organisations had differences over the board issue with the KRM alleging that the KKRSS was never in favour of a development board.

Nine on hunger strike in hospital - Khambu Rights Movement
Khambu Rights Movement launched an indefinite hunger strike at Tricone Park to protest against interference

The KRM claims that it should be given the right to form the Rai development board that was announced by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on January 22 as it spearheaded the campaign to secure the board.

The KKRSS, which claimed to have backed the board demand, said it deserved to form the body as it was the primary association of the Rais and enjoys the support of more than 90 per cent of the community members.

Manoj Rai said a four-member team of the KRM headed by president A.K. Rai had reached Calcutta and was in the process of fixing up appointments with ministers and government officials to lay claim to the creation of the board.

“We are also seeking a meeting with the chief minister,” he added.

Via Telegraph

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