Thursday, March 06, 2008

Ghisingh rakes up Gorkhaland

Statesman News Service
SILIGURI, March 5: Uncertainty over the Sixth Schedule status for the Darjeeling Hills has finally forced the Gorkha National Liberation Front chief Mr Subash Ghisingh to revive the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
In a letter sent to the Prime Minister today, Mr Ghisingh has said that the excessive delay in granting the Sixth Schedule status to Darjeeling, “has now snowballed into massive mass movement and uprising,” in the hills in favour of statehood and hence, “a fresh dialogue may be opened for carving out a separate state of Gorkhaland immediately.”
In the one page letter carrying the GNLF letterhead, the founder-leader of the Gorkhaland movement of the 80's blamed both the Centre and the West Bengal government for the “inordinate delay” in realising the Darjeeling Sixth Schedule status, which has now triggered a “mass uprising” for Gorkhaland state.
The GNLF chief pointed out that since “the consideration and/or passing of Sixth Schedule Amendment Bill 2007 ipso facto has become in-fructuous to honour and respect the wishes and will of the people” the dialogue on statehood should be opened immediately.
Mr Ghisingh faxed the letter to the Prime Minister from the Gorkha Bhawan, New Delhi, where he was camping since 29 February.
Mr Ghisingh is reportedly waiting for a green-signal from the district administration regarding his return to Darjeeling. He has, in the meanwhile summoned nine GNLF central committee members to Delhi to decide the party's stand in the changed circumstances in the Hills. The GNLF central committee met at the Gorkha Bhawan in New Delhi last night and unanimously resolved to revive the Gorkhaland demand.
According to the GNLF Darjeeling branch president Mr Deepak Gurung, who was present in the meeting, a detailed strategy for the renewed movement would be chalked out after Mr Ghisingh returned to Darjeeling.
The rival Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha has rubbished Mr Ghisingh's renewed call for Gorkhaland, saying that the statehood demand was not a toy that the GNLF chief could hide or exhibit, as he liked. “He has no support left in the hills and the people would not stand by him even if he calls for a separate country,” said the GJMM president, Mr Bimal Gurung.