The health of the former Labour Minister S.K. Kanta, who is on indefinite fast along with over 470 pourakarmikas, is deteriorating. The agitation which entered sixth day on Friday has been launched to pressure the Government to release pending wages to pourakarmikas, who have not been paid for the past 35 months.

For the third day in succession a team of doctors from the Government General Hospital were turned back by Mr. Kanta and others who refused to undergo medical tests.

Leaders of different political parties and organisations called on Mr. Kanta who appeared to be very weak. District Congress Committee president Allamprabhu Patil called on Mr. Kanta and then participated in the procession organised as part of the Gulbarga bandh.

Speaking to The Hindu at the venue of his indefinite fast, Mr. Kanta said: “Although we are not a party to call the Gulbarga bandh, a notice has been served on me stating that I would be held responsible for any loss to public property or any other untoward incident during the bandh. Despite this, I will continue with my fast and will not allow the government doctors to conduct test on me,” he said.

The head of the Sulpul Math Mahanta Shivacharyaru took serious exception to the way the district police officials treated him on Thursday night.

“The police officials threatened me with serious action if the call for bandh on Friday was not withdrawn. Then they served a notice stating that I would be held responsible for the loss of public property and any other untoward incident during the bandh,” he added.

“I am not a politician… I head a religious institution and out of sympathy for the lone struggle launched by Mr. Kanta to fight against the injustice done to the pourakarmikas I took the initiative to galvanize support for them… is it a crime?”, he asked.

He said: “It is strange that even after five days the Government did not feel the need to call on Mr. Kanta and persuade him to withdraw the fast. Urban Development Minister S. Suresh Kumar, who should have responded to the demands of the pourakarmikas, has no moral right to continue in the post and should resign immediately”.

“District in-charge Minister Lakshman S. Savadi should have visited Gulbarga city immediately and talked to the agitating pourakarmikas but he has not turned up till date. Neither have district officials bothered to intervene in the matter, he added.

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