Protesting Lepchas meet CM
Gangtok | Thursday, Oct 18 2007 IST
Lines of communication between the hydel protesters and state government has finally been restored after it as snapped midway in view of a relay hunger strike launched on June 20.
Representatives of different Lepcha organisations, under the banner of Dzongu Holy Land Protection Committee, submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Pawan Chamling yesterday stating that Dzongu is the holy land for all Lepchas and it must be protected at all cost'.
The state government had proposed seven mega power projects in Dzongu, North Sikkim which is the last remaining stronghold of the indigenous Lepcha populace. This was met with stiff resistance by the Lepchas of Dzongu who launched a 'Satyagraha' at Gangtok that reached its 119th day today. A Similar strike in Darjeeling reached its 47th day today.
Lepcha associations from Sikkim, Kalimpong, Kuresong and Darjeeling had submitted their joint representation yesterday.
In response, the Chief Minister stated that he was committed to protecting the sanctity of Dzongu and that no development should come at the cost of culture, tradition and identity of Lepchas, informed Tseten Lepcha, the coordinator of the Holy Land Protection committee.
Mr Chamling also urged the Lepcha members, particularly those from outside Sikkim, to view the issue rationally and suggest necessary steps to find a reasonable solution, said Mr Lepcha. ''We have also reiterated to the chief minister that all the involved organisations are non-political,'' he added.
While nothing concrete came out of the meeting, the Lepcha organisation said the dialogue process had been re-established and ''we could place our view directly to the chief minister,'' said the coordinator.
This is the first meeting between the chief minister and the protesting Lepchas since the Satyagraha began on June 20.
-- (UNI) -- 18CA16.xml
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