Monday, March 10, 2008

Ghising steps down as Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council head

Siliguri (West Bengal), March 10 (IANS) Beleaguered Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) chief Subhas Ghisingh Monday resigned from the post of caretaker administrator of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC). “Subhash Ghisingh has already submitted his resignation letter. The letter has been addressed to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. It would be sent to the state administrative headquarters in Kolkata tomorrow (Tuesday),” District Magistrate Rajesh Pande told reporters in Siliguri, a town in Darjeeling district at the foothills of the Himalayas.

“It was a very small letter but I cannot disclose the text,” he said.

Asked who the next DGHC chairman would be, he said the state government would take a decision. “I cannot comment on it,” Pande said.

“Ghishing is not very well since last night. He has got fever. He will stay in Siliguri for the next few days and then he will head for Darjeeling,” the official said, adding that Ghising’s security escort would remain the same considering threat perceptions.

“The security matter is totally decided by the centre and the state government,” he said.

The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), a rival of GNLF led by new hill leader Bimal Gurung who has virtually barred Ghising’s entry into the Darjeeling hills, had been demanding Ghising’s resignation for long.

The GJM had crippled life in three sub-divisions of Darjeeling district since Feb 20 along with an economic blockade since Feb 17, demanding a separate state and immediate sack of Ghising as DGHC caretaker administrator.

Ghising met Bhattacharjee last Thursday in Kolkata and discussed the political situation in the hills.

The GNLF leader was forced to knock on the chief minister’s door after hundreds of GJM supporters confined him at Pintail village, a resort three km from Siliguri, for five days since his return from New Delhi Feb 18. He had held talks with the central government over inclusion of Darjeeling in the Sixth Schedule.

The constitution’s Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling envisages greater autonomy.