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Gorkha Janmukti Morcha postponed June 7 public meeting

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today decided to postpone the June 7 public meeting, which was announced soon after the top rung of the party leadership had been charge-sheeted by the CBI in the Madan Tamang murder case, at the purported "request" of the Darjeeling district administration.
The Morcha's immediate decision to put off the meeting is being seen as an indication that the party does not want to antagonise the state government at a time it is facing the heat from the CBI.
The Morcha was expected to talk about the implication of top leaders, including Bimal Gurung, in the Madan Tamang case at the Darjeeling Motor Stand on Sunday.

Binay Tamang, the assistant general secretary of the Morcha, in a written press release, said: "Following the administration's request, keeping in mind the inflow of tourists in this tourist season, the party has decided to postpone the public meeting scheduled at Darjeeling Motor Stand on Sunday. The next date of the meeting will be finalised during a meeting of the party's central committee."
Asked if the district administration had requested the Morcha to cancel its meeting, Anurag Srivastav, district magistrate, Darjeeling, said: "Permission needs to be sought for a public meeting. We had informally opined that if a big rally is held during the peak tourist season, it could inconvenience the general public. It was not a request but just an informal opinion."
However, the party's decision to immediately heed the administration's opinion, according to observers, is a clear hint that the hill party does not want to ruffle the state government's feathers.
Only yesterday, Harka Bahadur Chhetri, Kalimpong MLA of the Morcha, had met chief minister Mamata Banerjee in Calcutta and raised the issue of the CBI chargesheet. Mamata, sources said, told him that the state government was not involved in the matter and could not do anything about it.
With the Morcha being pushed on the backfoot, its rivals in the hills have come together and floated the Democratic Front with the purported objective of restoring democracy in the hills.
The front was formed today by the ABGL, , CPRM, GNLF, CPM and Sikkim-Darjeeling Akikaran Manch. Leaders of the five outfits met at the ABGL office here today and announced the launch of the front.
R.B. Rai, the president of the CPRM and a former Darjeeling MP, said: "The front has not been formed to pursue political issues but merely to ensure that democracy is restored in the hills. Different political parties have different demands but without democracy, nothing will be useful. We want those who are guilty of murdering Madan Tamang to be punished."
Pratap Khati, the general secretary of the ABGL, has been made the convenor of the front.
The front plans to meet Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi in Darjeeling tomorrow. "We will also start a poster campaign and plan to hold a public meeting in Darjeeling on Friday. We have, however, not applied for permission," said Rai.
The Trinamul Congress, which was invited to join the Democratic Front, however, stayed away from the meeting as it had its own party programme in Darjeeling today.
Asked if Trinamul would join the front, Rajen Mukhia, president, TMC (hills), said: "As of now, we do not have plans to join the front. We, however, support their issue and we demand justice at the earliest."
There are indications from the front that it plans to play the role of a vigilante in the progress of the murder case. "You never know, they (Morcha) have lot of funds," said Rai.
Reacting to the formation of the front, Morcha leader Binay Tamang said in a statement: "Had this front been created for Gorkhaland, we would have welcomed the move. Today, some political parties are talking about democracy but where were they when C.K. Pradhan, Rudra Pradhan and Prakash Theeng (GNLF leaders) were murdered. During the 1986 (Gorkhaland) agitation, there were allegations of murder by the CPM and CPRM cadres. During the 20-year rule of the GNLF, there were a number of murders. How can these parties talk about restoration of democracy? Democracy was restored in the hills after the Morcha was formed?"(TT)

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