STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Kurseong, 6 December
Thousands of enthusiastic GNLF activists and supporters from different corners of the Hills and the plains converged at the Simulbarie Ground in Kurseong today to observe the 8th anniversary of the signing of the tripartite Sixth Schedule Accord. Yet, the absence of its chief, Mr Subash Ghising, who was expected to address the rally, left them squirming with disappointment. This was the first occasion when the GNLF observed the day with full vigour after lying low for several years since the advent of the GJMM in the Hills in 2007-08. Many of them, particularly the youths, were found singing and dancing, heralding hope of a regime change in the Hills with the GJMM, battered by the belligerent state government, remaining on the defensive. “We are for our paramount leader to return to the Hills to bury the GJMM once and for all,” said one of them.
Addressing the gathering, the GNLF speakers batted stoutly for the Sixth Schedule status for the Hills.
A woman leader, Mrs Tshering Dahal said the security and identity of the Indian Gorkhas would be ensured only if the Hills are included under the particular schedule of the Constitution. “The people are being betrayed in the name of Gorkhaland,” she said, alluding to the GJMM-the party that hounded out Mr Ghising from the Hills, tagging him with betrayal in reference to the emotive issue of statehood. However, the absence of the leader left most of those present in their thousands utterly disappointed. Some of them were even found weeping.
Mrs Dahal informed that she had gone to the rented residence of Mr Ghising at Matigara while the meeting was on to persuade him to come. “But we failed as he is not strong enough to take the strain,” she said.