Ghising threatens to revive Gorkhaland demand

Last Updated: Friday, August 13, 2010 - 22:02

Jalpaiguri: GNLF chief Subhas Ghising
today threatened to revive his demand for separate Gorkhaland
if the Centre and the West Bengal government went ahead with
setting up an interim Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).

Without naming the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which drove
him out of Darjeeling in 2008 and proposed an interim DGHC to
replace the present one to run the administration in the
hills, Ghising said that it would be a `disaster` and that he
has submitted a memorandum to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Ghising, who had first raised the demand for a
separate state of Gorkhaland and led a violent movement from
1986 to 1988 before settling for the establishment of the
DGHC, in his memorandum to Gandhi pointed to the tripartite
Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) on Sixth Schedule status to the
DGHC signed in Kolkata between the Centre, the West Bengal
government and the GNLF (Gorkha National Liberation Front) in
December 2005.

Under the Sixth Schedule, DGHC was to get more powers
similar to those enjoyed by the Autonomous District Councils
of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.

Noting that the Sixth Schedule Bill may have lapsed
in Parliament, Ghising said, "but it is not dead and can be
resurrected."

Urging Gandhi`s intervention, he urged her to take
"bold steps for re-introducing and passing the Sixth Schedule
Bill 107 of 2007 for amendment of Article 244(2) of the
Constitution with certain suitable changes or modification."

Talking to reporters here, Ghising said the central
and West Bengal governments should also not go against the
official resolution on the Sixth Schedule passed by the West
Bengal assembly on March 16, 2006.

"Both the Central and the state government should not
under any circumstances whatsoever go against the earlier
decision of the West Bengal assembly by bringing another
resolution which is less than the Sixth Schedule," he said.

Noting that he had handed over a letter to Union Home
Minister P Chidamabaram on February 18 which spelt out GNLF`s
stand, he said there was doubt in the minds of the people of
Darjeeling whether the Central or state government would
"uphold and honour the MoS of 2005 in letter and spirit or go
against their own commitments".

He also claimed that the interim DGHC proposed by the
Centre and on which tripartite talks were being held currently
with the GJM and the West Bengal government was opposed by the
people of Darjeeling.

Maintaining that the situation was better in the
hills, he said he would return there shortly. "We will return
shortly. I am not announcing the date."

The insistence of Ghising for Sixth Schedule status
for the hills had caused him to fall out with his then close
aide, Bimal Gurung, who is currently the president of the
rival GJM founded in 1987.

The GJM had also demanded Gorkhaland, but had changed
its stance and is now demanding an interim DGHC, which would
also include areas in the plains in neighbouring Jalpaiguri
district.

-PTI



First Published: Friday, August 13, 2010 - 22:02

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