GORKHA LASHBACK: Morcha hits out at rival revival plan – Ghisingh effigy burnt, tension at risheehat – Ghising went from Hero to Zero, and now down to Nero – just too proud, arrogant and stubborn to consult or take the advice of his intellectual superiors ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Darjeeling, Dec. 7: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today hit back at the GNLF for its revival efforts by mobilising supporters for a public meeting in Darjeeling where the effigy of Subash Ghisingh was burnt.
Also, as part of the pressure tactics before December 20, the last date the party had set for the government to ink an agreement for the set-up, most offices in the hills were shut for the second day. The Morcha has told the government that the interim set-up for the hills must be in place by December 20, failing which it will call a 48-hour shutdown in the region.
Till then all government offices, barring a few like that of census, election and food and supplies, would not be allowed to function. Attendance was thin in all offices that were open today. Yesterday, for the first time in three years, the GNLF had held simultaneous meetings in nearly 16 places to celebrate the signing of the memorandum of settlement for Sixth Schedule status between the Centre, state and Ghisingh in 2005.
Today, hundreds of Morcha supporters took part in a public meeting at Chowk Bazar in Darjeeling. Although the rally was part of a series of agitation announced by the Morcha in November to press for the inclusion of the tauzi department — that keeps record of land — in the interim set-up, it assumed significance given yesterday’s development.
Members of the Morcha youth wing burnt the effigy of GNLF chief Ghisingh during the course of the meeting.
Sudeep Gurung, secretary of the Yuva Morcha, Darjeeling town committee, said: “People will never accept Subash Ghisingh. He was solely responsible for spoiling the future of an entire generation. And just when we are trying to give the generation a better future, he is again trying to destroy it.” Sudeep said there would be no stopping the interim set-up from being established in the hills. “Nothing can stall the implementation of the interim set-up.”
The GNLF in recent times has been clamouring for Sixth Schedule for the hills instead of the interim set-up. The GNLF chief was hounded out of the hills in June 2008. Since then, Ghisingh and other GNLF leaders have been staying in the plains of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri district.
Given the Morcha’s posturing today, observers believe that there could still be unrest in the hills if Ghisingh decides to return immediately.
In fact, there was palpable tension yesterday after the GNLF hoisted its flags in more than a dozen places. Even though no major incidents of clashes were reported, police said a GNLF supporter from Risheehat, Kalu Singh, had to be rescued.
“Supporters of both the parties were in a state of panic and filed complaints against each other alleging intimidation. We did rescue one GNLF supporter from Risheehat who had been gheraoed as the Morcha alleged that he had firearms. The police team, however, did not find any firearms on him but we rescued him from the village to avoid any untoward incident,” said D.P. Singh, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling. The police chief was in Risheehat, 15km from here, the entire night because of tension.
Shivraj Thapa, the media and publicity secretary of the GNLF’s Darjeeling sub-divisional committee, alleged that the Morcha had run out of ideas. “Burning the effigy of our leader is laughable as in the past the Morcha had performed the last rites of our leader in Darjeeling. After performing last rites, they are burning the effigy,” said Thapa.