A journalist in hunger strike
New Delhi, March 9, 2009: Shantiram Acharya, former reporter with The Bhutan Reporter, published by Association of Press Freedom Activists Bhutan in exile, has started hunger strike in Chemgang central jail from Monday.
Acharya was arrested in January 2006 for taking photo of army camp in southern Bhutan and was charged for carrying out subversive activities against the state.
Druk National Congress led by R K Dorji said in a statement that nine other people sentenced to long years of jail term by the high court during the period of absolute monarchy have joined Acharya on indefinite hunger strike. They are Sup Prakash Rai, Om Nath Adhikari, Karenda Kheder, Govinda Nerula, Chatra Bhadur Tamang, Ram Bahadur Chamling, Kumar Gautam, Sukman Mongar and Hastha Rai.
The ten inmates in Chemgang central jail decided to sit on fast-unto-death after doctors forced N. L. Katwal to take food administering glucose. Katwal ended his hunger strike on March 7. Katwal is in stable condition now, the party said.
The prisoners have demanded the institution of independent judiciary in Bhutan to look into their case again along with demands put forward by Katwal.
Even after the adoption of constitution in July last year, the fundamental human rights are not accorded to them and government continues to deny them the access to counsel so that they can fight their case appropriately.