Nov. 1: A Gorkha Janmukti Morcha delegation was today denied permission twice to call on arrested GTA Sabha member Binay Tamang in the Jalpaiguri district hospital.
First, health officials disallowed three Morcha leaders from meeting Tamang around 11 in the morning, citing the patient’s deteriorating condition.
Later in the evening, the Morcha leaders went to the hospital armed with the permission of the additional district magistrate. But this time, the police personnel on duty outside Tamang’s room said the visit couldn’t be allowed without the district police chief’s leave as the patient was under their custody.
Tamang, arrested on various charges and put up in Jalpaiguri correctional home in August, had launched an indefinite fast on Wednesday to protest his imprisonment and demand the speedy disposal of cases in courts. He was admitted to the district hospital yesterday because of low blood pressure.
However, Tamang continued to refuse food and water and even saline injection,in the hospital and was taken to the Intensive Critical Care Unit (ICCU) yesterday afternoon.
Around 11am today, Morcha vice-president R.P. Yaiba and central committee members Saran Dewan and Binod Prakash Sharma reached the hospital and sought permission to call on Tamang. They had a letter written by the Kurseong MLA of the Morcha, who wanted the hospital authorities to let the trio inside the ICCU.
“We were, however, informed by the hospital superintendent that the chief medical officer of health, Jalpaiguri, had rejected our plea on the pretext of Binay Tamang’s precarious health conditions. We consider it as a unilateral decision on the part of the health officials as the patient concerned is our leader and we do have a right to visit him and check out his condition. We have serious doubts regarding the kind of treatment Binay Tamang is getting in the ICCU,” said Yaiba.
The Morcha delegates said they had come to visit Tamang on the instruction of party president Bimal Gurung.
Yaiba wanted to know why Tamang had been taken from the district hospital yesterday evening for admission to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri and then brought back midway.
“The ambulance carrying Tamang to the medical college was stopped mid-way and was brought back to the district hospital. Then, he was admitted to the ICCU. Why did the health officials take him out then? These are serious issues and we want answers from the administration. The health authorities are simply harassing him in the name of treatment,” said Yaiba.
“Since he (Tamang) had spent three days without food and water, his blood pressure has gone down. Also, his body has become dehydrated and all metabolic activities have stopped. As the patient is not ready to drink water or take saline injection, his heath has become worse.We have formed a medical board to observe his health and take appropriate steps,” said Sarkar.
Asked about the aborted move by the hospital authorities to shift Tamang to the NBMCH, Sarkar said: “The patient was taken out for his admission to the NBMCH because of some miscommunication. Whatever treatment he needs can be provided in the district hospital.”
From the district hospital, the Morcha trio went to the Jalpaiguri jail, where they met other party leaders Kalyan Dewan and Ashok Lama.
Dewan, a GTA executive member and Lama, a central committee member of the Morcha, had been arrested and put behind bars for their alleged involvement in incidents of arson, damage to public property and similar cases.
Around 6 in the evening, Yaiba, Dewan and Sharma met the additional district magistrate, seeking permission to meet Tamang.
Still, the trio couldn’t meet him.
“We went to the hospital and informed the authorities that we had the permission to see Tamang. We had also come to know that the hospital superintendent was supposed to accompany us to the ICCU. However, the on-duty policemen at the ICCU told us that unless we obtain permission from the superintendent of police of Jalpaiguri, they would not let us in. We felt disappointed and left the hospital without looking for the police’s permission,” said the Morcha vice-president.
The three left the hospital around 7pm.