September 22, 2011
Midnapore – It may be the season for fasts, but for these jawans, a hunger strike they say was their last resort. Posted in one of the most challenging and even hostile places in the country, the maoist dominated west Midnapore district of Bengal, they now say enough is enough.
Fed up of years of working in the Maoist infested West Midnapore district of West Bengal, 50 odd jawans of the India Reserve Battalion have gone on a hunger strike from today.
The jawans say their living conditions are very bad and that many of them haven’t met their families in years. Now, the jawans say they will not call off their strike unless there is intervention from Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee.Some have been here for the last nine years and are demanding a new posting, like their other colleagues transferred every three years.
The facilities they say are poor here and claim that any mention of leave to visit their families is met with threats of suspension.
They now say the stir will end only after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee speaks to them and addresses their concerns.
Ajay Sukba, Jawan, India Reserve Battalion, says “We are not allowed\ to go visit our families. We are always told we will be suspended. We don’t want to talk to any higher authority. We only want to talk to Mamata Bannerjee.”
Officials in the camp refused to comment and with the jawans adamant, the standoff continues.
With the naxal threat one of the biggest challenges before the country today, this strike is another example of the sorry state our men in uniform have to live in, and the pressure they endure day after day.