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Inactive GNLF members since 2008 attend party meet as Morcha facing rebellion

Mann Ghisingh pays respect to Subash Ghisingh
Several leaders of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) who had been inactive since 2008 attended a party meeting today, giving a fillip to the organisation at a time the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is facing rebellion with the resignation of two leaders.

The GNLF leaders who addressed around 700-800 people said today if the party could not take advantage of the situation now when the Morcha seems to be losing its hold in the hills, it would be a "great loss".

For the past one month, the GNLF has been holding such meetings in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong every Sunday but this is the first time that so many former senior leaders attended it.

Eight former councillors of the erstwhile Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, who were inactive after GNLF founder Subash Ghisingh left the hills in 2008, were present at the Gorkha Dukha Niwarak Sammelan hall here today.

"The Morcha is losing its grip in the hills. This is becoming clear from those who are leaving the Morcha. If we cannot take advantage of this situation now, it will be a great loss for the hill community and the cause we are espousing," said N.B. Chhetri, former Kurseong MLA, referring to Harkha Bahadur Chhetri and Trilok Dewan who left the Morcha recently.

Maan Ghisingh, president of the GNLF and Subash Ghisingh's son, said: "In the present situation, the Sixth Schedule status is the best alternative. If this agreement is not honoured, the situation in the hills could get worse. We invite intellectuals to point out if there is anything wrong in the Sixth Schedule pact. If there are mistakes, we will try to rectify them. Apart from Gorkhaland, if anyone can suggest any other set-up better than the Sixth Schedule, we are ready to look into it."

The memorandum for implementing the Sixth Schedule was signed on December 6, 2005. But with the change in the political situation, nothing proceeded after that.

Bhanu Lama, one of Bimal Gurung's close friends when the present Morcha chief was with the GNLF, was given the charge of organising the party. He said the GNLF would hold a meeting at Tukvar and Lebong constituencies soon. Tukvar is Gurung's constituency.

Morcha assistant secretary Binay Tamang said: "Those who are saying we are losing grip should comment after our meeting organised by youth in Kalimpong on September 30."(TT)



GNLF holds rally for sixth schedule status

The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), on Sunday felicitated 13 of its supporters who have been working in the GTA as casual workers (erstwhile DGHC casual workers) with khadas (traditional scarf), at the Kurseong Motor Stand here.

According to the GNLF, the workers had allegedly been transferred to other places and GTA departments in the hills, by the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) led GTA sabha and its leadership under a political vendetta.

The felicitation ceremony was conducted in presence of hundreds of GNLF supporters, who had gathered for a GNLF rally to press for the demand of immediately implementing the sixth schedule status for the Darjeeling hills.

Talking to reporters, GNLF spokesperson, Daya Dewan said that they had filed a case earlier in Kolkata High court against the issue of transferring the 13 workers, and claimed that the court had recently announced a verdict in favour of them.

He added that after the verdict, the workers have been re-transferred to their previous positions, and hence to acknowledge the victory, they were felicitated on Sunday.

Notably, compared to the recent GNLF rallies, a large increase in the number of participating people was seen in Sunday's march.

Dewan said that their central leadership held a meeting in Darjeeling to chalk out further programs of the party on Sunday, when asked about the party's plan on future political activities.

"Besides this, a GNLF delegation will leave for Delhi from Darjeeling on 4 October, to meet the central leadership in demand for a sixth schedule status for the Darjeeling hills," he added.

The GNLF spokesperson informed that another rally will be organized by the party in Kurseong on Sunday by the party's women wing, with various women supporters from all around the Hills participating in it.

Criticising the GJMM, Dewan said that the GJMM mislead the people of the Darjeeling hills for personal benefits, in the name of demanding 'Gorkhaland'. He added that their doubts over misappropriation of GTA funds have been strengthened by former GJMM leader, and Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chettri's recent statements with similar allegations.

He said that the GNLF will soon submit memorandums to the Darjeeling district magistrate, and the various sub divisional and block divisional officers in the region, demanding a high level enquiry into the utilisation of funds for GTA undertaken projects.(sns)

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